Erasmus+ key themes
Erasmus from 2021
The Erasmus+ program supports the goals of the European agendas for education, drives forward modernization, internationalization and an improvement to quality in the university sector in Europe, increases the attractiveness of the EU as a place to study and conduct research and contributes to the sustainable development of university-level education in third countries. In addition, it strengthens students’ international skills, their personal development and their employability.
2021 marked the start of a new seven year program generation. An overview of the key themes of the program and how they are integrated and implemented at FAU is available below.
Erasmus+ Social participation
Social participation and inclusion are central elements of the new Erasmus+ program generation. Additional funding options and more flexible formats in the mobility programs aim to ensure access to experience abroad for everyone. This offers new opportunities for the internationalization of education for all. Funding programs based on equality of opportunity are implemented in a number of ways, for example, by means of more diverse and flexible forms of mobility such as short-term stays, virtual and hybrid mobility and additional funding opportunities.
New mobility formats aimed at providing shorter minimum stays and a combination of shorter stays abroad and phases online such as the Blended Intensive Programs or traineeships with stays of only 60 days or more that easily fit into semester breaks enable FAU students who only have a limited amount of time due to various reasons to participate in the Erasmus+ program.
The aim of the promotion of social participation and equality of opportunity in Erasmus+ is to make participation in the program attractive to those who have not been able to take part up to now due to social factors. The following target groups are considered disadvantaged participants in Germany in the Erasmus+ program:
- Students who are working and have to finance their studies themselves
- Students who are the first in their family to study for a degree
- Students who are participating in the mobility program with their children
- Students with a chronic medical condition
- Students with a disability (degree of disability of 20 or higher)
- Staff with a disability (degree of disability of 20 or higher) or a chronic medical condition
- Staff who are participating in the mobility program with their children
The National Agency for Erasmus in the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has put the most important information for students and graduates on its website: Zusatzförderung für Teilnehmende mit geringeren Chancen (in German). Information for university staff is available here.
A more detailed description of the criteria and the relevant funding instruments is provided by the National Agency for Erasmus in the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)’s catalog of criteria.
Inclusion & equal opportunities at FAU
By signing the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE), each institute of higher education participating in Erasmus is committed to providing all participants the same access and the same opportunities, irrespective of their personal, cultural, social and economic background or any existing barriers and limits to mobility.
Implementing equal opportunities for all members of the University is a prime concern throughout FAU. It takes priority in all relevant University bodies, boards and committees, as well as at all levels of planning and decision-making. The topic of equality is an integral part of the Vice President People’s portfolio. FAU has implemented projects and measures to promote (more) accessible learning and working environments in order to take a proactive approach to addressing the needs of people with disabilities and impairments and to ensure equal rights of participation for learning and working. In its international activities in particular, FAU strives to promote, implement and communicate openness, a willingness to integrate and intercultural dialog. The aim is to increase diversity at FAU and to recognize and promote the acceptance of a pluralist society.
FAU aims to offer additional support to students with fewer opportunities (see above) and staff with disabilities for a stay abroad with Erasmus. International Affairs (RIA) provides support to students and staff with planning their stay abroad and is responsible for (initial) communication with partner universities and their disability offices (including forwarding relevant contacts).
Please do not hesitate to contact the Mobility Team if you have any questions on this topic.
Erasmus+ has specific measures that work at different levels. In addition to regular Erasmus+ funding, this means that students can receive supplementary funding known as a “social top up” of 250 euros per month for studying and traineeships. The top up for students with fewer opportunities is paid only once, even if students fulfill several of the criteria named above.
For especially high costs, students and staff can apply for additional funding for their stay abroad based on the actual costs incurred. In this case, please get in touch with university coordinator Bianca Köndgen several months before you plan to go abroad to enable an application (“Langantrag”) to be made to the National Erasmus Agency.
Information about the funding rules, how to apply and the process on the whole is available on the pages of the relevant action lines for students (Studying or internships abroad) and staff (teaching mobility and staff mobility).
Incoming students and staff with physical, mental or health-related disabilities have access to the same advisory and other services that are open to all other students and staff. An application for additional Erasmus+ funding or any inclusion funding must be made at the home university (universities in program countries) or at FAU (universities in “partner countries”).
Services at FAU
The following services are available at FAU:
- ExchangeAbility project: exchangeability.eu/exchangeability
- ExchangeAbility videos: exchangeability.eu/meet-the-ambassadors
- Erasmus+ ambassadors: issuu.com/iservice-europa/docs/eac-erasmus
- European Commission – Erasmus+: ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/
- European Disability Forum: https://www.edf-feph.org/
- Experience reports and summary of infrastructures and opportunities: inclusivemobility.eu /
Academic study of inclusion
Inclusion is not only put into practice at FAU, but also taught in an academic context, mainly to teaching degree students and future educators. They can develop a skills profile suitable for professional work focusing on the international dimension of educational organizations and projects as well as in HR and training departments of organizations not associated with education. FAU offers lectures and seminars such as “Inclusion in geography teaching”, “Learning with media in inclusive teaching”, “Special children in “Mittelschule” – dealing with hearing impairments”, “Autism, mutism and ADHD”, “Inclusive primary teaching”, “Internationalization in schools, networks and regional teaching environments”, “Professionalism of educators and teacher education in an international comparison and within the context of international migration”. The Teaching Methodology Department, in particular the Department of Education, the Institute for Primary Education Research and the Chair of Diversity Education are particularly active in the field of teaching for inclusion. The latter deals with educational and socialization processes under the conditions of diversity, internationalization and migration and the change that educational institutions and teacher training are undergoing because of it and also coordinates the DAAD’s “International Teaching Degree Project”.
The area “Cultural Values, Religions and Human Rights” has been defined as an interdisciplinary field of research at FAU. In intercultural perspectives, questions surrounding exchange processes and global negotiation strategies that shape religious, cultural, social and political behavior patterns are significant. Alongside the Center for Human Rights Erlangen-Nürnberg (CHREN) and the Erlangen Center for Islam in Europe (EZIRE), the Bavarian Research Center for Interreligious Discourses is also based at FAU. In particular, it deals with the topics of group-related misanthropy such as antisemitism and Islamophobia and will provide a wide variety of training. The research center will develop topics from the Key Concepts in Interreligious Discourses (KCID) research institute founded in 2016, which investigates key concepts in the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in historic, comparative and discursive contexts. Activities for incoming staff have been integrated into the activities of both centers. For example, in winter 2020, an interdisciplinary winter school was held during which students could gain ECTS credits during STA guest lectures.
The Interdisciplinary Center Gender – Difference – Diversity (IZDD) considers itself as an amalgamation of clearly defined focal points of a series of individual disciplines. One of the Center’s main concerns is to represent the interests, activities and expertise of relevance to gender, difference and diversity from the various subject areas as well as to define and venture into new areas through interdisciplinary collaborations, developing adequate approaches for researching them. Erasmus incoming STT and SMP mobility is possible at all research centers and should be used strategically.
The digitalization of the Erasmus+ program is one of the key topics of the future of European university collaboration, which will create some challenges but also many opportunities for universities. Program administration at universities will become digital, with documents and information no longer being exchanged on paper, but digitally via the Erasmus Without Paper Network (EWP) using interfaces.
At FAU, the “Mobility Online” tool provided by software company SOP is used to design and implement the components for exchanging information digitally via the EWP network. Exchanging Inter-Institutional Agreements (IIA) and Online Learning Agreements (OLA) via the EWP network as well as processing Blended Mobilities have already been successfully implemented. Work is already being carried out on integrating further digital processes such as the Blended Intensive Program (BIP).
In view of the European Green Deal and the current climatic and geopolitical developments, the importance of sustainability continues to increase and calls have been made to use the Erasmus+ program across sectors and actions to raise participants’ awareness of environmental and climate issues. FAU is also focusing on this topic and is taking action to protect the environment in several areas including the Executive Board and University Administration, infrastructure, management, teaching and research:
Projects and services in administration and teaching
In view of the European Green Deal and the current climatic and geopolitical developments, the importance of sustainability continues to increase. Sustainability has been part of education in Europe for a long time and it is one of the major priorities in Erasmus+. FAU is also focusing on this topic and is taking action to protect the environment in several areas including the Executive Board and University Administration, infrastructure, and management:
- Setting up a Green Office, as a central point of coordination for sustainability and climate protection issues
- Establishing a climate fund and the opportunity to use CO2 compensation for business travel
- New degree programs such as Clean Energy Processes, Electric Mobility and Climate and Environmental Studies as well as modules integrated into other degree programs in the fields of environmental and climate protection and renewable energies take this development into account.
- Publishing the Energy and climate map
- Involvement in Energie Campus Nürnberg (EnCN)
- Close collaboration with non-university research institutions, e.g. Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research (ZAE), and the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energy (HI ERN)
- Focus on the energy systems of the future key research priority