Hawassa University from Ethiopian side, and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (Universitetet for miljø- ogbiovitensskap, UMB, previously NLH) have an extensive and long history of collaboration, which dates back to the 1980’s. In 1988, this was promoted to an academic partnership between NORAGRIC/NMBU and the then Awassa College of Agriculture (ACA), which was under the Addis Ababa University (AAU). Later, this grew to be part of the Norwegian Universities' Committee for Development Research and Education (NUFU) programme for academic co-operation with emphasis on research-based capacity building and training at ACA. Hence, under the NUFU programme several PhD candidates were educated as part of ACA’s staff development programme. In 1994, NORAD supported ACA and the College of Dryland Agriculture, Mekelle University, through a short-range project for the purchase of academic resources. This led to the signing of the first Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries in 1995 and resulted in increased involvement of NORAGRIC/UMB in Ethiopian universities. The relationship between the three institutions resulted in NORAD supported projects for three consecutive phases. Since 1996 NORAD has supported three consecutive project phases at Hawassa and Mekelle Universities, which result in improving the teaching and research capacity of both institutions while undertaking joint research projects aimed at improving rural livelihoods in Ethiopia. The fourth phase of NORAD has now been launched as of January 2015. In addition, currently, there are four undergoing projects under the NORHED program, one example: Controlling diseases of sweet potato and enset in Ethiopia and South Sudan (Agreement Number ETH-13/0017). This project is coordinated by Professor Trine Hvoslef-Eide of NMBU as the main lead partner.
There are several other relevant international cooperation with other institutions in USA (e.g. OklahomaState University), Canada (e.g. Saskatchewan University), Netherlands (e.g. Vrije University), etc. The sweat potato project under the NORHED project has partnerships with the CGIAR center International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and International Potato Centre (CIP), as well as Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR). Through these contacts, access to ICRAF is also easy to establish and we aspire to do so.