It all started with the European Council Conclusion of 14 December 2017, when the heads of states and governments asked to the Member States, the Council and the European Commission to encourage the “emergence by 2024 of some twenty ‘European Universities“. So, the open call for the project is intended to test different ways of cooperation between Higher Education Institutons and their partners.

What do we mean with “European Universities”?

According to the guidelines provided by the Erasmus+ Programme Guide 2019 (see p. 125), “European University” is a KA2 initiative, under the Sector Skill Alliances, based on “sustainable bottom-up networks that are geographically and socially inclusive and work seamlessly across borders” (as stated in the comunication of the Commission dating back to 22 May 2018), within which the students will be able to combine several experiences of studying and training abroad. What’s relevant is that not only universities, but also any public or private organisation is entitled to take part to the project – as associated partner of an Higher Education Institution holding a valid Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE).

The goal

As one can read on the Programme Guide, there are two main goals:

  • the first, “to promote common European values as enshrined in article 2 of the Treaty on European Union and a strengthened European identity by bringing together a new generation of Europeans;
  • the second, to reach a substantial leap in quality, performance, attractiveness and international competitiveness of European higher education institutions and contributing to the European knowledge economy, employment, culture and welfare”.

These follow the comunication of 22 May 2018 (“Building a stronger Europe: the role of youth, education and culture policies“), that set out the main components of the future European Education Area – to be implemented by 2025.

It is then a long-term joint strategy “for pursuing a high level of enhanced, sustainable cooperation across various levels of the organisation, and across different areas of activity, building on their complementary strengths”. All of this will also serve as a model of good practice, enabling also the partner organisations to contribute to the developmet both of the initiative and of the EEA itself.

“Establishing the European Education Area will enable the EU Member States to do more, faster, to drive up the quality, competitiveness and inclusiveness of their education and training systems, while providing inspiration to non-EU countries to follow”, as per the 22 May Comunication.

The role of organisations

The link between education and “research, innovation and society at large” is underpinned when remarking that the whole initiative is based on sharing competences. Any partner can welcome students, doctoral candidates and staff, enabling them to complete their education.

The Budget

The total budget for this inititive is EUR 30 mio for 2019, with each grant that will have an average value of EUR 5 mio for three years.

For further information, check out our section “available grants“.


  1. […] European Universities, il nuovo progetto della Commissione, è ancora più ambizioso del programma Eramsus+: si propone infatti di costruire rapporti di lungo termine tra università, “geograficamente e socialmente inclusivi”. Lo avevano auspicato i capi di Stato e di Governo nella comunicazione del Consiglio Europeo del 14 dicembre 2017, che pone le basi per la nuova European Education Area, e trova spazio nella comunicazione della Commissione del 22 maggio 2018 (“Building a stronger Europe: the role of youth, education and culture policies”).  […]


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