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eFocus Education February 2013

Europe delivers

Promoting Europe as a centre of higher education excellence

Higher education is a major driver for social and economic progress. But it constantly needs to feed on new ideas and ways of thinking. These new ideas are less and less home-grown, and increasingly the result of international exchange.

The programmes reviewed in this edition of eFocus aim to foster this exchange. They also promote a better understanding of the EU itself, as well as the opportunities the region can offer to students and researchers from across the world.

In this first section we look at two programmes in particular that boost Europe's profile on the world higher education stage. Jean Monnet promotes EU studies through projects and networks worldwide. Erasmus Mundus promotes Europe's higher education offer through scholarships, partnerships and collaborative projects on key issues for higher education cooperation.

The Jean Monnet Programme – understanding European integration

Jean MonnetEstablishing European Studies as an academic discipline worldwide is the major aim of the Jean Monnet Programme. The programme promotes excellence in teaching, debate and reflection about the European integration process, in different fields and for a range of groups. It stimulates knowledge and awareness of the European Union on a global level in order to raise the visibility of the European project in the world, often comparing it with other regional integration processes (e.g. MERCOSUR, ASEAN).

Key activities include courses, research, conferences, and publications in the field of EU studies.

Many students worldwide first learned about the EU on an intellectual level through a Jean Monnet teaching project. The Programme supports these projects and the professors in a threefold way: branding, financial support, and becoming part of a worldwide family. Present in 76 countries throughout the world, the Programme has helped to set up some 4,000 projects in the field of European integration studies, including 177 Jean Monnet European Centres of Excellence, 956 Chairs and 2,190 permanent courses or modules.

Erasmus Mundus – promoting Europe's higher education offer

One of the objectives of Erasmus Mundus is to raise the profile of European higher education on the world stage, and promote Europe as a destination for students and researchers.

One way to do this is through projects. Erasmus Mundus Action 3 makes funding available to projects which organise events and produce tools and studies to promote Europe as a first choice destination for higher education; and which tackle the issues needed to foster international cooperation. Projects promote specific academic disciplines or develop links with particular regions outside Europe. They also share experience and develop new expertise on key topics such as services for students, recognition issues or quality assurance.

StudentsAnother way of boosting Europe's attractiveness is to award scholarships. Erasmus Mundus offers two types:

Over 180 Joint Programmes (Action 1) now award EU-funded scholarships for integrated courses at masters or doctoral level, which involve study/research in at least two different partner universities, and which give a joint or double degree.

Under Action 2, Erasmus Mundus Partnerships bring together HEIs from the EU on the one hand and those from a particular region or country in the world on the other. Together the partnerships manage mobility periods with scholarships between the two regions for study at bachelors, masters, doctorate, and post-doctorate levels – as well as for academic staff.

The benefits for individuals are clear: the quality of the courses, the academic exchange of knowledge and ideas, greater employability though recognition of qualifications and study periods abroad. Not to mention the benefits of the intercultural experience. The partner universities together tackle issues of recognition, equivalence and internationalization through their mobility activities. Many develop spin-offs, forge lasting links, and boost their international presence.

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Last update: 21/02/2013  Print | Top of page