Brussels, 20 October 2005
In 2005, the number of European Universities taking part in the ERASMUS University Cooperation scheme rose to an impressive 87% of all European universities, across 31 countries  . The success of the inter-university cooperation partnerships supported confirms the power of the ERASMUS scheme to integrate and network Europe’s higher education institutions, helping to equip them for the challenges of the globalised, knowledge-intensive world of the future.
“Our universities are crucial for achieving a stable, prosperous Europe in an increasingly globalised and knowledge-based world economy. They are also the places where the aspirations of our young people take shape” said Ján Figel’, European Commissioner in charge of Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism.
“The clearest example of the European Union’s contribution to Higher Education is the Erasmus scheme â€” our flagship programme in the field of higher education and arguably the best-known European Union programme. Why is it so popular? Because, with its support for students and teaching staff, and with its emphasis on encouraging university cooperation, it adds a truly European component to the education of generations of students.”
Erasmus promotes student and teaching staff mobility, and supports trans-national cooperation between universities, improving the transparency and full academic recognition of studies and qualifications throughout the Union.
The student mobility element of the scheme has already helped over 1.4 million students since it began almost 20 years ago. In 2003-2004 alone, more than 150.000 EU citizens benefited from the programme. Similarly, the scheme’s less well-known action to promote university cooperation has also been growing significantly under the scheme. More than €17 million are available this year to support around 260 projects and networks. For example, Curriculum Development Projects bring together universities from different countries in order to adapt existing study programmes or to establish new and jointly devised study programmes. Intensive Programme Projects are short programmes of study which bring together students and teaching staff from universities of different countries. Additionally, there are projects that are conceived specifically for the dissemination of the results and outcomes of curriculum development projects which have completed their development phase.
The Erasmus scheme also supports so-called Thematic Networks Projects, of which 19 were selected this year. These involve networks of universities working together to analyse and compare existing teaching methods, to define and experiment with new teaching methods, and to place teaching material at the disposal of the members of the network with the aid of databases.
Together, these university networks and cooperation projects now cover nine tenths of Europe’s 4000+ universities and higher education institutions. This achievement is further evidence of the success of the Erasmus scheme, which is contributing directly to the Lisbon Strategy.
For the academic year 2005/2006 the deadline for submitting new candidatures is November the 1st 2005.
For further information, the application forms and the lists of approved projects see [âˆ— ] :
ERASMUS Networks 2005 – Best Projects Selected in 2005
The following projects have received the highest scores by the external experts who have evaluated the Erasmus Networks proposals. All the 19 selected projects will be invited to a launch meeting in Brussels.
European Network for the Teaching of History
The overall objectives of this network are to establish and consolidate new approaches and standards for history teaching and learning at all levels. The goal is closely connected with the challenges and the opportunities created by the enlargement of the European Union and its necessarily ever greater role in world events. The proponents believe that a critically founded view of history – the ways in which it is conceptualised, learned and studied – constitutes one of the most important arms against racism, xenophobia and civil conflict. History constitutes one of the key fields in which international understanding can be ensured - or negated – and cohesive citizenship can be guaranteed – or shattered.
The primary target groups are students, teachers and other higher education stakeholders in member and candidate EU countries. The network’s ultimate target is the European citizen, particularly the young European.
Coordinator: Professor Ann Katherine Isaac – University of Pisa (I)
No. of partners: 78
Socrates Thematic Network for Redefining the Curricula for the Multifunctional Rural Environment-Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Society
This network aims at introducing a European dimension in disciplines related to the rural environment by redefining the curricula to reflect environmentally sustainable, ethically defensible and risk conscious agricultural and forestry industries that foster the well-being of rural communities, and of the biophysical and socio-cultural environment in which they live.
The objectives are to support the development of the disciplines relating to the multifunctional rural environment by characterising the discipline territory; analysing the core competences at the Bachelor and Master levels in these disciplines and benchmarking indicative degree programmes; developing curricula which address the expectations of society in relation to ethics and risk.
The network’s target groups are academic staff, senior management in its partner institutions and staff in other European higher education institutions involved in related disciplines. The network’s main activities will include surveys and analysis to identify current practice in the design and delivery of Bachelor and Master degree programmes; reports of good practice in teaching, learning and assessment; the development of curricula to address the expectations of society; support for the development of student centred learning in the partner institutions; Dissemination of its acquired knowledge through conferences and reports.
Coordinator: Professor Simon Heath – University of Lyon (F)
No. of partners: 133
European Network in Occupational Therapy in Higher Education
The network aims to facilitate participation of persons with disabilities in an enlarged Europe through developing high quality occupational therapy education and practice.
The network’s target groups are professionals, lecturers and students in the field of occupational therapy; health, social, occupational community and clinical departments; competent authorities, regulatory bodies and ministries; user/clients organisations; workers in the field of rehabilitation and inclusion; other thematic networks.
The network’s main activities are comparative studies, curriculum development, developing teaching and learning materials, conferences and workshops, disseminating best practice through websites and publications. It expects to have results in the following areas: competences for occupational therapy for three cycles; web-based terminology tool, teacher training.
Coordinator: Prof. Hanneke van Bruggen – University of Utrecht (NL)
No. of partners: 149
Thematic Network for Integrating Safety and Environmental Knowledge in Food towards European Sustainable Development
The main objective of the ISEKI Food 2 Thematic Network is to contribute to the European Higher Education Area in the field of Food Studies.
The network would like to achieve these objectives by: working towards the sustainability of the network; developing a virtual community of experts in the field of food, with communication with the general public; establishing a framework of agreements between partners; developing further related projects between partners.
This Thematic Network would like to produce: critical analysis reports, guides, workshops, web databases, teaching materials and methods (including books, e-learning courses and a training network), information websites and a virtual community, among others, related to the working subjects above described.
Coordinator: Professor Cristina Louisa Miranda Silva – University of Coimbra (P)
No. of partners: 110
 25 Member States + Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Lichtenstein, Iceland and Norway