The 3rd call for applications for mobilities to Europe is now closed.
The 3rd call for applications for mobilities to Asia is now closed.
The EXPERTS4Asia project closed on 14 July 2017.
Main Objectives of the EXPERTS4Asia Project:
To enhance the international cooperation capacity of the participating institutions from SSEA by transferring and sharing know-how and best practices, administrative capacities, and training the next generation of researchers and academic staff
To exchange ideas, views and knowledge among the partners from both SSEA and EU, thus creating opportunities for enhanced communication, collaboration, cultural awareness, and understanding the roles of HEIs
To promote EU Higher Education Systems in the participating third countries, in particular to enhance the attractiveness of European higher education in the region
To promote cooperation between sending and hosting institutions- with the goal to increase the compatibility of Higher Education Systems in the EU and Asia and their joint efforts in partnership by facilitating transfer of know-how and good practices
In the long run, joint study programs shall be developed and implemented. At PhD and Post-Doc level, priority will be given to the joint development of innovative and high quality research proposals relevant to the region. Half of academic mobilities will be given to staff from international relations offices in order to train them in internationalisation.
One of the main goals of the EXPERTS4Asia Project is to give continuity and sustainability to the successful multilateral collaboration created in previous projects while including new players in the Erasmus Mundus program. The consortium is composed of 5 countries from group A (Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan) and 7 countries from group B (China, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Thailand). All together, the consortium consists of 13 universities from SSEA and 7 universities from EU allowing the coverage of as many subject areas as possible.
The project has multifaceted objectives: it aims on the one hand to focus on excellence in technical fields and on the other to strengthen mobility in a wide range of disciplines such as Agricultural and Environment studies; Engineering Technology; Health & Medical Studies; Social Development; Regional Development, Poverty & Growth; and Law (10).
183 grants will be offered within the EXPERTS4Asia Project, of which 135 are for SSEA to EU and 48 for EU to SSEA. Per type: BA – 20.2%, MA – 26.8%, PhD – 20.2%, Post-Doc – 12.6%, and Staff – 20.2% of which half will be for academic staff and half for personnel concerned with the internationalisation processes and institutional enhancement of the universities. The aim here is to learn techniques regarding university management and administration with reference to the international realm within the EU higher education institutions.
Project Activities and Accomplishments:
The EXPERTS4Asia Project succeeded in fulfilling the distribution as stipulated by the EACEA in the call for proposals. 183 scholarships were awarded as planned in the proposal. Due to a number of drop outs and earlier terminated mobilities, a total of 176 grantees benefited from the scholarships (of which 39 were European and 137 were SSEAN).
In terms of the organisation of the mobilities, EXPERTS4Asia has been successful in meeting the project’s objectives by organising and implementing structured individual mobility arrangements between the European and Third Country partners. The scholarships were awarded with special consideration to cross-cutting issues and vulnerable groups, and the ultimate distribution of scholarships reflects the consortium’s efforts to promote gender balance, eschew brain-drain, and to include vulnerable groups into this mobility programme. In terms of respecting gender balance, 53% of the grantee proportion was female which, given the context in certain countries, could be considered as a particular and very welcome achievement. Furthermore, this is the first time in the history of the EXPERTS projects where the gender distribution is so balanced, with parity almost being achieved. The EXPERTS4Asia Project also had 46 TG2 and 6 TG3 grant-holders. Within TG2 and TG3, a number of Master and Doctorate full degree students were selected from non-associated universities, thus adding value to the educational development of the vulnerable groups in the region and ensuring a positive impact on other, non-partner HEIs. In most cases, the highly talented SSEA grantees who benefited from a scholarship would not have been able to enhance their qualifications in Europe without the funding provided through the project. Overall, it is clear to see that equal opportunities have been promoted and ensured to the best of the consortium’s ability, and that the encouraging numbers of applicants is largely attributable to the project’s good and successful promotional strategy, which has focused on covering every geographical, gender-related, and background-related aspect, and has ensured that all academically-worthy candidates have been given the best opportunity to develop, both personally and professionally, by means of the scholarships provided within the framework of the project. Another best practice observed in terms of the organisation of the mobilities is the equality established within the partnership across host and home institutions, and with respect to nationality, with the distribution of scholarships based on proportion to the university size, thematic needs, and academic quality.
Higher education is an important factor in the economic and social development of the region, and the mobilities facilitated through the project undoubtedly benefited the host and home faculties and institutions and, in turn, also the greater academic community in the home countries. The impact of EXPERTS4Asia on the economic and social situation in the partner SSEAN countries is both considerable and welcomed. Through its effective and efficient implementation, the project succeeded in awarding scholarships to highly academic students and scientists in important fields of study for the project’s partner institutions in SSEA. Fields such as the Agricultural Sciences, Engineering, Medical Sciences, and the Natural Sciences were all selected as thematic areas in line with the development priorities of the Third Countries involved. The breakdown of scholarships within EXPERTS4Asia per academic field is as follows: : Natural sciences (including Chemistry and Biology) - 32, Agriculture - 27 , Business Studies and Management Sciences – 17, Social Sciences – 45, Engineering and Technology - 18 and Medical Sciences – 13.
Based on the feedback received from the grant-holders and partners alike, the project has been of great importance to their personal and academic development. Some of the most notable ways in which the project has asserted a positive impact include the grant-holders’ widened cultural horizons or the enhancement of their educational qualifications, career prospects, and teaching and research skills. Through the effective implementation of student, researcher, and teaching staff exchanges from SSEA to Europe and from Europe to SSEA, the project has had an unquestionable positive impact on the partner universities, and the EXPERTS4Asia Consortium continues to constitute a valuable and significant tool for developing and enhancing capacity building. The exposure of local students in Europe and SSEA to other educational, learning, and research systems as a result of coming into contact with the grant-holders has fostered and promoted intercultural understanding, which is considered to be another positive outcome of the project.
The increased visibility and improved institutional reputation of the EXPERTS4Asia partner universities is yet another project achievement. The establishment of new units; the introduction of institutional changes, joint research projects, and joint publications; curriculum development; and bilateral/multilateral agreements, have all contributed to the internationalisation of the institutions and region involved in the long-run. Administrative staff mobilities were, in particular, of a great importance here since, through the training they received in internationalisation procedures, they learnt and acquired new techniques regarding management and administration with reference to the international realm. According to feedback received from the grant-holders, the majority of mobilities subsequently had a positive influence on their home institutions, be it through the introduction and promotion of new teaching and research methods, newly established cooperations or networks, or a better management of exchange programmes at the home university. The increased mobility streams and exchange of experience between the EU and SEAN countries contributed towards the improvement of efficiency in university administration, and has also provided a sound basis for interdisciplinary education and research.
The project has further contributed to promoting European higher education and the principles of the Bologna process, in turn resulting in an enhanced attractiveness of European HEIs in the region. The exposure to different education systems and principles has provided alternative educational perspectives and, perhaps, ideas on how systems in the home countries could be capitalised upon to realise their full potential. In addition, the experience gained in student and staff exchanges was not only limited to the partners, but extended to the associate partners, thus meaning that good practices concerning the organisation of mobilities and the implementation of the Bologna process could be spread in all participating countries and reach as wide an audience as possible. Throughout the project’s lifespan, there has been a visible shift in the understanding of the importance of the Bologna principles as a sustainable measure for any future international cooperation, and significant developments are now visible in terms of credit recognition at many partner universities.
Through the EXPERTS4Asia Project, the partners strengthened existent cooperations and developed new ones. The consortium not only increased its effectiveness and efficiency regarding mobility management, but also the sustainable cooperation established as a result of the EXPERTS I, II and III projects has been maintained and extended via EXPERTS4Asia. Furthermore, cooperations have not only been established between the partners within the consortium, but also with other institutions from the targeted region, namely Europe and SSEA. This is deemed to be a particularly significant achievement of the EXPERTS4Asia Project, and one which it is hoped will lead to even more long-lasting international success in the future of academic cooperations. Further, and sustainable, cooperation has been a focal point and priority within the project since generally speaking, the sustainability of cooperation and the continuous sharing of information and expertise is promising in terms of securing a long-term positive economic and social impact. The increase in expertise and knowledge in the country-relevant fields of study has the potential to effect a positive change to the countries by contributing towards their development.
In terms of the project’s impact on the partners’ capacity for, and attitude to, sustainability, the increase in the number of bilateral agreements and joint initiatives, the widened networking potential, and the heightened awareness of the project and EMA2 programme are all indicators of the successful implementation of the project’s goals and a continued dissemination of its results. The project has provided a platform to exchange ideas, knowledge, best practices, and to discuss solutions to global issues affecting HEIs and society in general nowadays, addressing these problems wherever possible. One systematic social improvement resulting from the project is anticipated in the form of greater internationalisation within higher education, increased international exposure, and augmented experience and knowledge sharing. The direct and indirect impact of the individual mobilities and cooperation amongst the partners on a regional and national level has been deemed highly significant and of a sustainable character. The change within the composition of the consortium compared to previous EXPERTS projects has enhanced the number and type of collaborations fostered, extended the project’s regional reach, and provided for a good balance amongst the consortium partners. The EXPERS4Asia Project has awarded scholarships to students, researchers, and staff from 22 different countries, and cultivated international academic cooperation between 19 partner countries in total. Through further joint consortium cooperation, for example in the form of Regional Workshops, the consortium will seek to enhance the sustainable impact of the EXPERTS4Asia Project. The planned Regional Workshops constitute one part of a comprehensive approach to increasing sustainability and cooperation in the higher education sector between Europe and the SSEA region, as well as regionally within SSEA.