The European Commission has granted €105m towards Erasmus+ in Irish colleges, including UCC, DIT, UCD and NUI Maynooth.
DCU will also receive a part of the funding which will allow the university to carry out project work in a number of areas around the world, including the western Balkans, Central Asia, Russia and the southern Mediterranean.
The increase in funding is welcomed after a further demand for places in the Erasmus programme in recent years. DCU was awarded over €250,000 for 118 students to study abroad for the current academic year; this has risen to nearly €285,000 for 205 students to leave next year.
Regarding the funding, Minister for Education Richard Bruton said that “the Erasmus+ programme prepares students, academics and staff to be active and engaged participants in an interconnected global world,”
“The internationalisation of our Irish higher education system is vital. Engagement in Erasmus+ will help institutions become more relevant and responsive, and will enhance their diversity and distinctiveness.”
Part of the money granted by the EU will go towards a structural project focused on the western Balkans region. The UL was chosen to lead the project out of 93 applications.
LIT will also co-ordinate a joint project that links with countries in Asia and the Russian Federation. DIT will receive nearly €1m in funding to work on a project to strengthen Europe’s software innovation capacity.
Erasmus was originally launched by the European Commission in 1987 and has since sent more than two million students to study across 27 countries. 50,000 students from Ireland have participated in the EU’s study and work abroad programme.
Ireland currently sends over 3,000 students from 35 higher education institutions to study and work abroad each year using EU funding. Similarly, 7,000 students come to Ireland on similar activities mainly from France, Germany and Spain. DCU also welcomes students from Australia, China and Japan among others.
The aim of Erasmus+ is to contribute to the Europe 2020 strategy for growth, jobs, social equity and inclusion. The €10.5m will also contribute to improving the cultural awareness and employability of Irish graduates, including DCU students.
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