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Building a stronger Europe through Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe


March 23, 2023


Building a stronger Europe through Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe

EU Affairs


March 23, 2023

Mar 23, 2023 6:03 PM


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Europe needs a more holistic approach to university funding, combining all universities missions in the field of education, research, innovation and service to society. It is particularly difficult for university alliances to manage the patchwork of funding coming from Erasmus+, Horizon Europe and other European and national sources, when building an innovative European University delivering a bold vision to strengthen European collaboration.

To practice what it preaches, the European Consortium of Innovative Universities shares its views on how to make Europe’s education programme Erasmus+, and Europe’s research and innovation programme Horizon Europe, more attractive in two aligned position papers that were published today.

In the past months, dozens of ECIU experts in the field of education, research and innovation worked together to deliver rich and crystal clear recommendations on how to improve the attractiveness and impact of Horizon Europe and Erasmus+.

The upcoming midterm review of European programmes provides a unique opportunity to evaluate how we can make European programmes even more effective” says Olga Wessels, Head of the ECIU Brussels Office.

ECIU is clear in its recommendation: We need a more holistic approach to university funding. We ask Europe to be bold and innovative, so we can combine universities missions in a single programme to make Europe’s university landscape more competitive” continuous Wessels.

Next to strategic and innovative vistas, the papers also cover very concrete suggestions to make the programmes more effective.

The need for holistic and long-term funding is increasingly relevant for European University Alliances. These alliances have great potential to leading the way towards European university collaboration in the future, promoting European values and creating European ecosystems for knowledge sharing. ECIU also links its views on how a challenge-based approach supports the impact-driven nature of Horizon Europe. Making Horizon Europe more open and inclusive, the need to be less prescriptive and how to nurture local ecosystems in a better way, are addressed. The paper concludes with some concrete recommendations to make Horizon Europe even more attractive, e.g. on lump sum, the structure of the work programmes, support to NCPs and KTOs, and the importance of low to mid TRL-funding.

Regarding education, commitment to innovation is needed. Innovation is driven by diversity, and the Erasmus+ programme should make diversity an even greater priority in increasing Europe’s competitiveness. Focusing on continuous learners and creating flexible learning paths must be fully rewarded. Learning at work must be further developed, to enable Erasmus+ to attract people at the workplace. The paper concludes with some concrete recommendations and ideas to strengthen the attractiveness of Erasmus+, e.g. on smart digitalisation of mobility and about the introduction of transnational consortia.

Download the ECIU Horizon Europe paper

Download the ECIU Erasmus+ paper


ECIU is the leading international consortium of research intensive universities, with collective emphasis on innovation, creativity and societal impact, driving the development of a knowledge-based economy.