This paper describes World Bank lending strategies for higher education and science and technology development and draws four lessons from project experience. First, the Bank has been most successful where, through a series of project investments, it has developed a coherent sub-sectoral strategy for supporting quantitative expansion, quality improvement, strengthening national research and training capabilities, and fostering their utilization by the private sector. Second, capacity building must comprehensively address the need to reform the financing and management of higher education and research systems. Third, efforts to increase the efficiency of government and donor investments in higher education and research must combine strengthening accountability with increasing institutional autonomy. This will often involve changing traditions of subordination--liberating higher education and research institutions from civil service regulations, allowing them greater control over their budgets, encouraging openness, transparency, and competition in resource allocation, and protecting the integrity of academic and scientific work. Finally countries with significant capacity for research and advanced scientific training will derive little benefit from their investments unless attention is also paid to fostering the use of such capacity by enterprises, producers, government, and society as a whole.