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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 21 November 2013

Finland, Greece and Spain win Erasmus awards for investing in staff exchanges and teaching quality

Three higher education institutions which receive funding through the Erasmus programme are named today as winners of the 2013 European Erasmus Awards. The gold prize winner is JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä, Finland, where 70% of the staff take part in Erasmus training abroad each year. The university regards staff exchanges as key to its efforts to improve teaching and learning quality. The Technological Educational Institute of Crete, Greece, and the Universitat Politècnica in Valencia, Spain, also receive awards (see below). The Erasmus Awards will be presented at the Tour & Taxis exhibition centre in Brussels this evening.

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: "Quality teaching is crucial if we are to produce the creative and adaptable graduates we need. I congratulate the winning institutions for demonstrating the value of Erasmus teaching and training opportunities abroad. The experience gained by university staff working in a different international environment is of enormous benefit to students in both the host and sending institution."

The three winning institutions, which are involved in partnerships in several European countries, are "excellent examples of what can be achieved by using staff mobility strategically for the support and on-going improvement of teaching and learning quality," added the Commissioner.

The European Commission invited all 4 500 higher education institutions holding an Erasmus University Charter to highlight success stories involving staff mobility and short intensive programmes such as international summer schools. Independent experts short-listed 20 of the best examples, from which the three winning institutions were chosen.

In addition to grants for students to study or train abroad, Erasmus has funded more than 300 000 staff exchanges for teaching and training and more than 3 200 intensive programmes since 1997. Together, these activities represent approximately 9% of the Erasmus budget.


Jyväskylän ammattikorkeakoulu (JAMK University of Applied Sciences), Jyväskylä, Finland

Internationalisation is one of three strategic priorities for the JAMK University of Applied Sciences and its 8 000 students. This includes a high level of mobility with over 70% of staff going abroad on a yearly basis. The staff exchanges are monitored through internal performance and national indicators to ensure quality and maximum impact.

The staff exchanges are a part of the university’s strategy for improving teaching and learning quality. So far, the impact has included the development of intensive programmes and partnerships resulting in joint online projects and double degrees.

A double degree involves a student following two different university degree courses in parallel, often at different institutions in different countries. The two degrees can be in the same subject area or in two different subjects.


Τεχνολογικό Εκπαιδευτικό Ίδρυμα Κρήτης (Technological Educational Institute of Crete), Heraklion, Greece

The Technological Educational Institute has over 15 000 students who are taught in six cities throughout Crete. Since 2005, the Institute’s 22 intensive programmes have provided a platform for internationalisation by creating links with local industry as well as world-leading institutions such as the University of Oxford and Imperial College in the UK. This has led to an international dimension of the degree programmes and helped academics from across Europe get to know the Institute’s work and staff members.


Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain

The Universitat Politècnica de València is a 45-year-old technical university with 13 schools and faculties on three campuses. Last year its staff took part in in 190 mobility opportunities, making it the fifth largest sending institution among the 33 Erasmus participating countries. It attaches great importance to monitoring the quality of exchange programmes and ensure that lecturers’ experiences make the University more international, benefit students and enhance the University’s joint teaching and research projects. As a consequence it is offering more and more double degrees as well as Erasmus intensive programmes.


Erasmus Staff Mobility

Erasmus has provided support for staff teaching opportunities in other European countries since 1997. With the creation of the Lifelong Learning Programme in 2007, staff mobility was extended to include training, as well as the possibility for higher education institutions to invite staff from companies to teach at their institutions. Training now accounts for around 26% of staff mobility through Erasmus. Staff mobility enhances professional skills and contributes to the internationalisation and modernisation of higher education. It also encourages student mobility.

The new Erasmus+ programme will enable 800 000 teachers, lecturers, trainers, education staff and others to teach or train abroad in 2014-2020.

Growth in Staff Mobility since 2007

Staff mobility periods total

Teaching assignments

Staff training

Erasmus Intensive Programmes (IPs)

Erasmus Intensive Programmes (IPs) are short, subject-related study courses, which bring together students and teaching staff from higher education institutions in at least three European countries. The intensive programmes, which can last from 10 days to six week, aim to:

  • encourage the multinational learning of specialist study areas (for example, the 'virtual European Faculty of Law', developed through an Intensive Programme);

  • provide students with access to knowledge that is not available in just one higher education institution;

  • allow teachers to gain different insights into course content and new pedagogic approaches;

  • test teaching methods in an international environment.

The intensive programmes are managed by the national agencies in the countries that participate in the Lifelong Learning Programme. In 2011-12, 462 IPs were organised in 31 countries – an increase of more than 14% compared with the previous year.

Number of Intensive Programmes since 2000

For more information

Details on the winners and the shortlisted candidates are available in the brochure

Supporting reform: the role of Erasmus in higher education

European Commission: Erasmus

European Commission: Erasmus+

European Commission: Education and training

Androulla Vassiliou's website

Follow Androulla Vassiliou on Twitter @VassiliouEU

Contacts :

Dennis Abbott (+32 2 295 92 58); Twitter: @DennisAbbott

Dina Avraam (+32 2 295 96 67)

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