With the previous Erasmus+ programme 2014–2020 having lapsed last year, the new edition – Erasmus+ 2021–2027 – was launched towards the end of March 2021.
Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission's Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. It provides grants for a wide range of activities, with a strong emphasis on international collaboration between partner countries, notably in the field of higher education. This opens the programme to global institutional cooperation and mobility opportunities for university students and staff.
With nearly double the previous budget, the new programme is dedicated to strengthening the actions of the previous one, and aims to fund ten million mobility projects over the next seven years.
Stellenbosch University (SU) was a valued Erasmus+ partner during the previous programme, particularly under key action 2, “Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices". This action allowed participating organisations from different countries to work together to develop, share and transfer best practices and innovative approaches in the fields of education, training and youth. Key action 2 was subdivided into four categories, of which “Capacity building in the field of higher education" (or CBHE) was the field SU was most active in. Since 2014, SU was a partner in nine CBHE projects, one of which it also coordinated. These were as follows:
- Enhancing Postgraduate Environments (EPE) (https://postgradenvironments.com/)
- International Learning Network of networks on Sustainability (LeNSin) (http://www.lens-international.org/about)
- Development of a Harmonized Modular Curriculum for the Smart Grid (DAMOC) (https://damoc.eu/)
- Strengthening of Collaboration, Leadership and Professionalisation in Research Management in SADC and EU Higher Education Institutions (SToRM), with SU as coordinator (https://sites.google.com/view/projectstorm/home)
- Building capacity by implementing mhGAP mobile intervention in SADC countries (MEGA) (https://mega.turkuamk.fi/)
- Development of the Internationalisation of PhD Studies in South Africa (YEBO!) (https://yebo.cut.ac.za/)
Early Nutrition and Health in South Africa (ImpENSA)(https://www.early-nutrition.org/impensa/)
- A Global University Network for Agricultural Sciences and Viniviticulture: Internationalising through Joint Programmes (VitaGlobal) (https://www.vitaglobalproject.org/)
- Bakeng se Afrika (https://www.up.ac.za/bakeng-se-afrika)
Another two projects that SU is involved in were recently approved for co-funding, both with a focus on climate change, albeit from different perspectives.
CBHE projects vary in emphasis and implementation. Initiatives centre on anything from curriculum development to the modernisation of governance, management and functioning of higher education institutions, as well as the strengthening of relations between higher education institutions and the broader economic and social environment. Project activities are equally varied and may include individual mobility of staff and students, workshops, training, conferences or virtual events.
Another key element of CBHE projects is that they include funding for equipment necessary to implement projects. This has significantly enhanced SU's hardware and software over time. Examples include the installation of data projectors and document cameras at the Paul van der Bijl building at our Welgevallen experimental farm, and an adequate personal computer to support the digitisation
of the skeletal reference database at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences' Division of Clinical Anatomy.
Project implementation is usually coordinated by the relevant academic or professional administrative support services environment, with the necessary support from SU International.
To learn more about some of the projects that SU engaged in, please visit the websites listed above. For more on how to participate in the next Erasmus+ phase, or to collaborate with SU on future Erasmus+ applications, contact Alecia Erasmus on firstname.lastname@example.org.
What's in the name?
The Erasmus programme is named after the Dutch philosopher, theologian and humanist Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1465–1536). Erasmus became one of the main figures of European intellectual life during the Renaissance. He travelled widely for work and study, including to Paris, Leuven and Cambridge, which were considered the great centres of learning at the time. He left his fortune to the University of Basel, and so became a pioneer of the mobility grants that today bear his name. In addition, “Erasmus" is a backronym for “EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students". The original programme was established as an exchange initiative in 1987 and was replaced by Erasmus+ in January 2014, combining all the EU's schemes for education, training, youth and sport.