Australian Researchers’ Mobility Portal

Monday 1st December 2008

The European Commission is consolidating the longstanding cooperation with the US and Canada with the launch of a new round of 24 innovative projects involving universities and training institutions on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition, this year 11 joint curriculum development and student mobility projects were agreed and launched with Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. All these projects are jointly funded and supervised by the European Commission and the governments in the partner countries. The objective is to promote mutual understanding, transparency and quality in higher education and training, by setting up long-term institutional cooperation at bachelor’s and master’s level, allowing students from Europe and from the partner countries to have a unique experience studying abroad in a global context. The 35 projects launched this year involve 189 institutions and more than 2,000 student exchanges.

Ján Figel’, the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, said that “the longstanding cooperation we have created with the EU-US Atlantis programme, the EU-Canada programme and the more recent projects with Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand sends a positive signal from the European side about the readiness for qualitative and quantitative improvements that can be achieved by teaming up with our higher education partners in North America and Asia Pacific. This is an invitation for university professors and especially for students from our partner countries to come to Europe and work together on joint study programmes and joint- and double-degrees which bring our advanced education spaces in Europe and in the partner countries closer together.”

EU-US Atlantis Programme — 3rd edition with new projects

The European Commission and the US Department of Education have jointly launched 16 new cooperation projects involving 73 universities and training institutions from the EU and the US. The European Commission and the US Department for Education each contribute €4.5m – an increase of 18% compared to 2007 — to support 700 students in two-way transatlantic exchanges.

The Atlantis now focuses on innovative courses and degree structures, such as transatlantic joint or double degrees. It seeks to encourage an innovative and sustainable range of student-centred activities, in both higher education and vocational education and training (VET).

The new selected projects comprise:

  • Eight Transatlantic Degrees. These absorb most of the budget and are joint or double Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees, where students will spend a full academic year on the other side of the Atlantic. They receive, upon successful completion of their study programme, a joint or a double degree from one university in Europe and one in the United States.
  • Six Excellence in Mobility projects. These projects are similar to the EU’s Erasmus exchange programme in higher education and focus on curriculum development with student mobility for one academic term.
  • Four Policy Oriented Actions. These projects aim to enhance transatlantic collaboration through studies, seminars, working groups, and benchmarking exercises that address comparative higher education and vocational training issues.

New EU-Canada projects

Eight new projects have been launched under the EU-Canada agreement in the fields of higher education, training and youth (2006-2013). They will involve a total of 42 universities and training institutions in Canada and Europe. The European Commission’s contribution of €1.1m, to be matched by Canadian authorities, will support the joint projects on curriculum development and joint study or training programmes and allow the mobility of 360 students over the course of three years. These exchanges will be supported by the necessary mutual recognition of credits, by adequate linguistic and cultural preparation and a range of essential services and infrastructure.

New joint projects with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea

Building on the experience of the pilot projects with Japan, Australia and New Zealand since 2002, the format of cooperation has been extended this year for the first time to the Republic of Korea. The result is the launch of 11 new joint projects of which 5 with Australia, 3 with South Korea, 2 with Japan and 1 with New Zealand. The projects are based on the model of Erasmus-like projects implemented successfully with the US and Canada since 1995. The Commission will contribute with €3.6m to these projects with the partner countries providing match funding. The projects will involve a total of 75 institutions and will support the mobility of some 940 students.

Since the inception of the programme in 1995, 267 projects have been funded involving some 800 European universities and vocational training institutions, 680 institutions in North America and 60 institutions in Asia Pacific. The projects launched to date support over 10,000 students’ exchanges.

This year’s projects cover a number of important and innovative areas such as sustainable water resource management; civil society education; regional and global governance; rural development and agricultural economics; laser materials interactions; sustainable tourism; international relations; mechanical, manufacturing and mechatronics engineering; early childhood intervention; health promotion; transnational law; international economics; hydro informatics; entrepreneurship education; information systems; mechanics in micro- and nanosystems; forest and natural resources; inclusionary social work; environmental journalism; transformation of urban areas; bio-production; fashion; graphic design; hotel management and hospitality studies; quantum information processing; climate change; as well as paper, computer and natural sciences.

With an increase in both selected projects and overall funding, cooperation with industrialised countries continues to foster innovative collaboration ventures, maintaining European higher education institutions at the forefront of the global knowledge-based economy. The success of this cooperation programme plays an important role in strengthening the partnership between Europe and strategic partner countries by promoting understanding between their peoples and improving the quality in the development of their human resources.