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Support EUA’s advocacy for the establishment of a flexible Erasmus+ grant to integrate international talent with a protection status

09 November 2017

Scholars and students are among the groups that are frequently persecuted for their academic and civic engagement. Data collected by EUA on the Refugees Welcome Map proves that universities all over Europe already support students and scholars who are obliged to flee their countries.

The main reason why universities cannot do more is simply a lack of funding, as they usually have to rely on their own financial resources and the voluntary engagement and commitment of individual staff. Funding and support initiatives exist only at some national levels, and dedicated organisations such as Scholars at Risk and CARA face increasing difficulties to find placements for scholars.

Therefore, EUA recommends to the EU to establish a specific grant under the Erasmus+ programme to support the placement of scholars and students with international protection status at European higher education and research institutions. As the funding would be expected to come from budgets for third-country cooperation, this would not diminish the intra-European Erasmus+ programme. EUA calls upon its members and partners to join its lobbying efforts by providing comments and suggestions, but also by indicating their support for this proposal.

Such a grant is not intended to solve the refugee crisis, nor to replace measures currently undertaken by the EU and its member states in third countries. However, it would be one of a range of diverse measures that are needed in order to respond to the problem. Beneficiaries would not only be the individual scholars and students, but also the European universities as this type of grant would help them to include international talent, and would present a clear opportunity for the further internationalisation of the higher education sector. In addition, member states would be supported in addressing their specific challenges. The European Union would set a clear signal internationally, demonstrating its support for academic freedom and for civic and human rights, raising awareness and inspiring others to follow suit. In line with several of the goals that the EC has proposed for the future Erasmus+ programme, such as tackling the most pressing societal challenges, it would also contribute to several other EU policy agendas related to higher education, including the renewed EU agenda for higher education.

Concrete scenarios and potential building blocks were discussed with EUA members and partners and the results were assembled in a concept note. The idea is to bring this proposal into the discussion on a successor programme of the Erasmus + (post 2020) and, hopefully, prior to this, to launch a pilot.  The concept note is still a first draft. EUA would like to invite its members and partners to voice their support for the proposal, and also to provide feedback.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96