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Higher education on centre stage

The Inter-regional Programme (IRP) promotes the development of higher education in the EU’s neighbouring partner countries and provides mechanisms to improve student and academic mobility.


The IRP aims to modernise and strengthen higher education institutions in the neighbouring partner countries by encouraging co-operation with their EU counterparts.

The forging of new partnerships between universities from Member States and the different regions should help to modernise curricula and teaching methods, build research capacities and improve graduate employability and institutional governance. In addition, a new scholarship scheme will create opportunities for students to study abroad.

Boosting mobility

Two EU programmes are available to help meet these aims: TEMPUS and the Erasmus Mundus External Co-operation Window.

TEMPUS, the Trans-European Mobility Scheme for University Students, began in 1990 by helping EU partner countries to reform tertiary education. The aim was to prepare citizens for the challenge of living in a competitive economy, where democracy and civil society play key roles.

The programme has since been extended to Eastern and Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the Southern Mediterranean.

TEMPUS funds co-operative projects in areas such as curriculum development, teacher training, university management and structural reform in higher education. It places special emphasis on encouraging the mobility of academic and administrative staff from higher education institutions.

Window on the world

The new Erasmus Mundus External Co-operation Window is a high-profile student scholarship programme that aims to promote the balanced participation of women and men with regard to subjects and social origins.

The programme will be open to undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral and post-doctoral students from the partner countries and will allow for teaching staff exchanges.

The goal is to boost the mobility of students and academic staff as a way of fostering higher education co-operation between the EU and the neighbouring partner countries. It is expected to produce 1 000 scholarships starting each year by 2009.

For further information please consult the FAQ on the new EMECW website.


Last update: 17/02/2012 | Top