Today, Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, launches 10 Erasmus+ projects to test new forms of transnational cooperation between higher education institutions, as outlined in the European strategy for universities just one year ago. This is a key milestone for achieving the European Education Area.
Six of the selected projects will examine, test and facilitate the delivery of a joint European Degree label, a complementary certificate to the qualification of students graduating from joint programmes delivered in the context of transnational cooperation between several higher education institutions, based on a common set of co-created European criteria. The other four projects will allow alliances of higher education institutions, such as ‘the European Universities', to test new forms of cooperation, such as a possible European legal status for these alliances.
The European Degree label is a step towards a joint European degree, spanning several EU Member States, and designed to encourage student mobility and cooperation. The label would reflect the skills and learning outcomes acquired by students who have followed a joint programme in several institutions and in several countries, in several languages, benefiting from the mobility opportunities of this programme and transdisciplinary pedagogical approaches. It would furthermore be complementary to the qualifications students obtain when graduating from joint programmes in the context of transnational cooperation between several higher education institutions, such as European Universities.
This label would be issued on a voluntary basis as a certificate attesting learning outcomes, achieved as part of transnational cooperation among several institutions, and based on a common set of criteria. The selected projects working on the European Degree label will be carried out by higher education institutions, national and regional authorities and other stakeholders.
Among the ten projects selected today, four will allow alliances of higher education institutions to test new forms of EU cooperation, such as a possible European legal status for these alliances. The aim of this legal status is to give university alliances, on a voluntary basis, the latitude to act together, make common strategic decisions, experiment joint recruitment, design joint curricula or pool resources and human, technical, data, education, research and innovation capacities.
Each selected pilot project can receive a budget of up to €200 000 from the Erasmus+ programme for the duration of one year, which is expected to start in spring 2023. In cooperation with the relevant national, regional and/or institutional authorities, they will offer evidence for next steps and will elaborate proposals towards a possible joint European Degree and legal status for alliances in agreement with the higher education sector and Member States.
Any future step will not replace existing national solutions, and will aim to provide for complementary solutions, on a voluntary basis, to facilitate deeper transnational cooperation, fully respecting the principle of subsidiarity and institutional autonomy.