The willingness and commitment of Finnish universities for promoting knowledge-based sustainable development cooperation was clearly expressed by the representatives of the eleven Finnish universities which assembled at the University of Jyväskylä on December 2, 2002. A keynote speaker at the seminar was Dr. John Mugabe, Director of Science and Technology for the New Partnership for Africa's (NEPAD).

The Finnish universities expressed their interest in participating and co-operating via institutional involvement in development initiatives along the lines of partnership approaches. They stated that institutional involvement would require a strategic approach from the universities and consequently international development should become a part of the Finnish universities’ international strategies. The universities also supported suggestions for a closer, inter-institutional thematic co-operation in Finland leading to the establishment of University Partnership Network for International Development (UniPID).

The network has been offering virtual studies courses for students at UniPID member universities from 2007 with increasing success.

Currently the network has 10 member universities, which have signed the UniPID cooperation agreement. Each university has assigned one member and one deputy member to the UniPID Board, which is the official decision-making body of the network. The University of Helsinki is holding the UniPID chairmanship. The network is coordinated at the University of Jyväskylä.