Virtual Exchanges in Higher Education and Youth

What are Virtual Exchange projects?

This type of project allows young people to gain experience of international exchange and education (formal and non-formal) without physical mobility, which partly responds to the constraints created by the corona virus pandemics. Projects can be designed independently, or as the activities that complement physical mobility in projects in the fields of higher education and youth.

Who can be the participants of virtual exchanges?

Exchanges should involve participants from the higher education and youth sectors. Depending on the project setting, representatives of both sectors or one of them may be involved. Virtual exchanges are established for young people between 13 and 30 years of age.

What are the objectives of this action?

Projects should strive as much as possible to meet the following objectives (one or more of them):

  • Achieving intercultural dialogue with third countries not associated to the Programme and increasing tolerance through online interaction between individuals;
  • Encouraging complementarity with Erasmus + physical exchanges, in order to enable as many young people as possible to gain intercultural and international experience
  • Improving critical thinking and media literacy;
  • Fostering the so-called soft skills in students, young people and youth workers
  • promoting values such as civic engagement, freedom, tolerance, non-discrimination through education;
  • strengthening the youth dimension in the EU’s relations with third countries.
Are there any restrictions on the topic of the project?

No, applicants have the freedom to choose the topic to be addressed through the project, as long as a clear link with the above objectives of the action can be demonstrated.

What activities can be implemented through the project?

Projects can cover a wide range of online collaborative activities, including, for example:

  • Facilitated discussions among students of higher education institutions from different countries, as an integral part of achieving a diploma of a higher education institution, i.e. through integration into the teaching process;
  • Facilitated discussions among young people and youth organizations from different countries, as part of youth projects;
  • Training of lecturers at higher education institutions or training of youth workers who want to develop virtual exchange projects with organizations from abroad;
  • Interactive open online courses, which may include recorded lessons, lectures, problem solving, etc., but with an emphasis on interaction such as the use of small group forums, which would allow communication between students, lecturers, young people and youth workers.
Who can submit a project application?
  • Public or private organization active in the field of higher education or youth (non-formal education);
  • A higher education institution, association or organization of higher education institutions, as well as legally recognized national or international rector’s, teachers ‘or students’ organizations.

The institution submitting the project application on the behalf of all institutions on the project must be from an EU Member State or from third countries associated to the Programme.

What types of organizations can participate in the project?

Projects are open to organizations from EU Member States or third countries associated to the Programme, as well as organizations from the eligible third countries not associated to the Programme.

Each project must involve organizations and participants from one of the eligible regions of third countries not associated to the Programme. Eligible regions are Regions 1, 2, 3, 4 and 9 (more details in the Programme Guide, Part A, section Eligible Countries).

Participating organizations can be:

  • Higher education institutions, associations or organizations of higher education institutions, as well as legally recognized national or international rector’s, teachers ‘or students’ organizations;
  • Youth organizations;
  • Public or private organizations active in the field of higher education or youth.
What is the required number and type of organizations on the project?

The consortium must be composed of at least 4 full partners in the project, out of which:

  • At least 2 higher education institutions or youth organizations from 2 EU Member States or third countries associated to the Programme and 2 higher education institutions or youth organizations from two eligible third countries not associated to the Program, which belong to the eligible region;
  • The number of organizations from EU Member States and third countries associated to the Programme may not exceed the number of organizations from third countries not associated to the Program;
  • In the case of cooperation with sub-Saharan Africa, the participation of the wide range of countries, including the least developed countries, is encouraged.
How long do virtual exchange projects last?

The projects last 36 months.

How are these projects financed?

Projects are financed on the principle of allocating lump sums. In the project application, the applicant elaborates the budget proposal necessary for the implementation of the work packages on the project, such as project management, organization of trainings, organization of events, preparation and implementation of exchanges, communication and dissemination of information about the project, quality assurance, etc. After the evaluation of the project proposal, a precise amount is awarded, which is determined to be adequate for the submitted proposal.

The maximum possible amount that can be awarded for these projects is 500 000 euros. It should noted that the funds that should be invested in one exchange participant are a maximum of 200 euros, which means that the project of 500 000 euros should include 2 500 exchange participants.

What activities can be financed from the project budget?

Costs may include staff costs, travel and subsistence costs, equipment and subcontracting costs as well as other costs such as the costs of promotion, publication and translation of materials. Financial support to third parties is not allowed. Volunteer and SME costs are allowed.

Where to apply?

To the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) in Brussels.

What is the deadline for the submission of the project applications?

Information on the deadline for submitting project applications within the current Call for proposals can be found on our page Calendar of Calls.

More information about the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchanges can be found in the Erasmus+ Programme Guide, on the website of the European Commission.

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