Erasmus Mundus is a global scheme, providing a distinctly "European" offer in higher education to those beyond EU borders. By supporting the international mobility of scholars and students, Erasmus Mundus prepares its European and non-European participants for life in a global, knowledge-based society. The programme confirms the European Commission's interest in opening up European higher education to the rest of the world. Erasmus Mundus complements the European Union's existing regional programmes in higher education with third countries.

More information

List of current Erasmus Mundus funded joint courses
Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window

The overall objective of Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window (EMECW) is to achieve better understanding and mutual enrichment between the EU and third-countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills at higher education level, with a view to fostering sustainable development and reform in line with the Millennium Goals.

Commission funds are available for projects that strengthen research capacities, promote public debate on EU-Asia relations, and twin Asian and European institutes and think tanks. More specifically, the EMECW aims:

• To develop higher education teaching and learning capacities especially regarding the countries' development priorities
• To enhance the role for the higher education sector in sustainable development in line with the Millennium Development Goals
• To create a pool of well-qualified and internationally experienced professionals, capable of responding to the challenges of sustainable and equitable development within their home country.

The Commission is awarding grants to consortia of institutions (including European and non-European institutions) that will fund mobility grants for students of all university levels and academic staff.

EMECW has funding provisions specifically for the Asia region. Certain funding lots require the participation of certain countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan (Lot 12), Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Maldives (Lot 13) and Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos (Lot 14). Optional eligible countries for all Lots are Sri Lanke, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, China, North Korea. There is also a specific funding lot for India.

Eligible European countries are the 27 member states of the EU and European candidate countries and the EEA.

Call information: Information on award of consortia for the Asia Region.

Additional EU support to higher education in Central Asia comes from the Tempus programme which aims at facilitating university modernisation, mutual learning and cultural understanding between the Europe and Central Asia. Whereas the External Cooperation Window focuses on individual mobility of students, professors and administrators, Tempus will continue to promote institutional cooperation thereby concentrating on the reform and the modernisation of higher education systems according to the Bologna process.

Countries from the Central Asian region, included in the Tempus programme:

In 1995, the Commission made first formal agreements with the U.S. and Canada on balanced co-operation in higher education and vocational training, which were renewed in 2006 to provide a legal framework until 2013. Compared to previous agreements, funds have been considerably increased to consolidate and expand transatlantic education co-operation.

In addition, several initiatives operate with other industrialised countries, notably Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

The following types of projects and mobility schemes are funded with industrialised countries:

  • Joint/ double degree projects, launched with the US in 2006, this action supports consortia of higher education institutions to create integrated joint study programmes, with students from the two sides spending a substantial period of study in the partner country and obtaining either a joint or a double degree.
  • Joint mobility projects set up and run by a group of higher education and/or vocational education and training institutions from the EU and one partner country. Activities focus on short term mobility of students (typically one semester) with recognition of study abroad periods, joint curriculum development, and exchanges of trainees, teaching staff or administrators.
  • Policy oriented dialogue and projects to address strategic issues related to education and training systems and policies of the EU and its partner countries. This action includes studies, seminars, working groups, benchmarking exercises that address comparative higher education and vocational training issues, including recognition of qualifications and issues of accreditation.