Tag: mobility

Number of Erasmus students has reached 3 million

Newest statistics launched by the EU show that the number of students who have spent parts of their studies abroad with an Erasmus grant has now passed 3 million. Erasmus mobility programme was introduced in 1987 and is considered one of the definite success stories of European initiatives in the area of education. The programme includes at this point 33 countries (EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey).

Number of students annually (Source: Europa.eu)

Number of students annually (click to view full size image)
(Source: Europa.eu)

26 years ago when the programme was introduced it attracted 3,244 students Europe wise. The numbers for the 2011/2012 academic year indicate a new record – over 250 000 students spent either part of their studies abroad or had a job placement with a foreign company. Furthermore, well over 45 000 staff members, both academic and administrative received support to teach or train abroad. Over 33 ooo of these were teaching assignments, marking a 5.4% increase compared to the previous year.

The highest growth amongst outbounding students was in Croatia with 61,8%, potentially explained with their recent joining with the programme. However, high growth rates were also shown in Denmark, Slovenia and Turkey. The country sending out most students was Spain, followed by Germany and France – all three being among the larger countries in Europe. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Spain was also the most popular destination country with a clear margin, followed by France and Germany.

The Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou commented on the recent numbers: “Erasmus is more important than ever in times of economic hardship and high youth unemployment: the skills and international experience gained by Erasmus students make them more employable and more likely to be mobile on the labour market. Erasmus has also played a tremendous role in improving the quality of higher education in Europe by opening up our universities and colleges to international cooperation. Looking to the future, I’m delighted that our new Erasmus+ programme will enable 4 million young people to study, train, teach or volunteer abroad in the next seven years.”

Have you had experience with an Erasmus programme? How did the experience contribute to your studies?




New patterns in internationalization of science

A few weeks ago, Nature took up the topic of increased and changing internationalization patterns in research. As a part of this, the results from a study examining the internationalization patterns in research were highlighted. The survey covered 17 000 scientists in 16 countries (including four areas: biology, chemistry, Earth and environmental sciences and materials) and the questions were for the most part about country of origin, attractive countries to work in and reasons for migration.

A number of the results were not very surprising, for instance, that United States has a very large number of international researchers (38%), whereas a particularity of the US is their lack of outward mobility. On the other hand, Switzerland has en even higher level of international researchers (58%), but one in three researchers with Swiss origin works outside the country. Of course, in the case of Switzwerland, one has to consider the impact of for instance CERN.

When the respondents were asked about the current stronghouses of research, again the usual suspects were mentioned – with USA, UK and Germany topping the lists. However, when asked on who was seen as having the greatest impact in 2020, the country that emerged on top was China – potentially a somewhat surprising result considering the short time span. Nevertheless, only a fraction of the respondents from the study would consider moving there.

Of the reasons why one would consider to move to another country, the two aspects that received highest support were general quality of life and opportunities for research funding. Other factors, such as salary level, or opportunity for more senior positions were considered important incentives, but not to the same extent, hinting towards more intrinsic motivation linked to the discipline.




International student mobility – questioning future scenarios

In the context where an increasing amount of higher education institutions in USA and UK are increasingly dependent on fees and having to become “self-sufficient”, the question of international student mobility is becoming increasingly important for these institutions.

According to a recent article in University World News, “China and India alone will see their aggregate urban consumption increase seven-fold and six-fold respectively from 2005 to 2025“. In the article, this is used as an argument that there will be an increasing pool of potential international students in terms of quantity, and that this would also allow institutions to be more selective rather than being dependent on any student coming. As such, the article presents this transformation as a huge potential for higher education institutions in the West – and especially for USA and UK that would need to have clear strategies on how to gain from this situation.

Though, the picture might be as clear cut, and some issues one might want to consider include that Asian own higher education institutions are on the rise, and there is increased focus on cross-border education and branch campuses that seems to be the preferred mode, instead of sending out students. In addition, one can expect increasing competition from other European countries, as the EU is soon to issue its new internationalisation strategy for higher education with third countries (as indicated by a Commission representative during the recent ESMU conference in Brussels). 




Funding options for researcher mobility to Norway

The Research Council of Norway has announced another round of their funding programme for supporting internationalisation – the Yggdrasil programme.

The programme offers PhD students and young researchers grants for research stays in Norway. The goal is to strenghten existing research networks, and the scholarships are provided for uninterrupted research stays of 3-12 months. The programme has an annual budget of approximately NOK 10 million.

Eligble countries include:

  • European countries: All countries, including all Council of Europe member states, except for the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden).
  • Non-European countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico and South Africa.

Please note that this year, the programme is not based on individual applications from international PhD students, but the applications by Norwegian research institutions (universities, university colleges, independent research institutes or other research institutions).

Deadline for applications 15.02.12, 13:00 CET  




New Norwegian scholarship database

The Norwegian Research Council has launched a new database for available scholarships for mobility linked to the European Euraxess initiative. Euraxess is a European Commission initiative, launched in 2004 and has a subtitle “Researchers in motion”. The initiative is linked to European ambitions to create the European Research Area (ERA), that was first initiated in 2000 in connection to the Lisbon Agenda. One of the ambitions within ERA is to achieve a more mobile community of researchers and through that increase the quality of European research.

The target group for  the Norwegian Euraxess database are PhDs and researchers in Norwegian institutions who are interested in outward mobility, but also for researchers interested in coming to Norway. Since the database is focused on mobility programmes, it does not include usual calls for research project funding.

The database covers Europe, USA, Canada, Russia, India, China, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and South- Africa.

You can find the scholarship database on this page.