Mark Anderson, Director of The Europe Office at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), tells us how GCU has benefitted from EU funding
Growing through European Engagement for the Common Good
GCU is a young, post-92, Scottish university with its roots in technical colleges. Although we don’t have such a long-standing research tradition as some of our Scottish neighbours we do participate successfully in a wide range of successful Interreg, FP7 and H2020 research activities. Part of our internationalisation and research strategy is to develop and partner on international cooperation projects. European funding has been key to supporting this strategy.
The Europe Office is a unique team established to specialise in European engagement. We support our academics on any EU related project, both pre- and post-award. What makes us different from other support offices is that we run and participate in our own projects, bringing our own experience in research, innovation and international engagement. Under the EU Alfa Programme, GCU became the only UK University to coordinate a cooperation project with Latin America - Kick-start. We also participated in a number of Tempus and EduLink projects working in North and East Africa and the Middle East. The new Erasmus+ programme has offered new opportunities which align perfectly with GCU’s declared mission to work “For the Common Good”, especially in Capacity Building for Higher Education, which aims at supporting inter-university cooperation between EU and non-EU countries.
Erasmus+ Capacity Building Projects
Out of 515 proposals received by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ call for Capacity Building for Higher Education; 147 involved UK HEIs, either as coordinators or partners, and 45 of these were successful. GCU submitted 11 proposals, three as coordinator, and was successful in seven (two as coordinator), which represents over 15% of successful bids across the UK; no other UK institution is involved in more than three.
The projects cover a range of thematic areas to support the development of HEI policies and structures in non-EU countries. These include: internationalisation; research and innovation management; knowledge transfer processes; entrepreneurship and incubation; curriculum development: and in particular, social innovation support, which is a particular specialisation at GCU.
Our non-EU partners include 46 universities, four ministries and two international NGOs in Iran, Vietnam, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Egypt, Georgia, Israel and Kyrgyzstan. There are also 22 other EU HEIs involved from Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden
Participating in these projects will help to promote GCU’s vision as a University ‘For the Common Good’ across the world, allowing our institution to be seen as a reference for best practice in cooperation activities. This level of international cooperation offers a unique opportunity to engage with education systems overseas that would otherwise take a great deal of time and a substantial investment to realise. As such the benefits from participating in these EU Erasmus+ projects for both the non-EU and EU HEIs are incomparable and pave the way to more long term research and teaching partnerships in the future.
You can follow our main project activities through our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TheEuropeOffice