Recently, Universities Denmark has introduced a new mechanism for university collaboration under the title “Building Stronger Universities in Developing Countries” (BSU). This initiative, financed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Danida), focuses primarily on institutional capacity building, especially in connection with PhD training. BSU represents an innovation in its bringing together all relevant Danish universities in a single collaborative structure. BSU is organized in four platforms that represent broad focus areas. The platforms have identified separate countries/universities as core partners, with three platforms present in Ghana and Tanzania, and one platform being present in Nepal, Kenya and Uganda. The platforms have been competing for resources for the initial two-year phase. This paper compares BSU with existing Danish mechanisms for support to research for development and discusses the role of competition in a project that focuses on long-term institutional capacity strengthening and identifies early lessons learnt. It concludes that quality assurance in this area must be established through other means than competition in order to avoid counterproductive discontinuities in long-term university development at the partner universities.