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EU-US cooperation in higher education and training

The European Commission, DG XXII, has published a second call for proposals within the framework of the "Agreement for cooperation in higher education and vocational training and training between the European Community and the United States of America", formally concluded in October 1995.

This second call for proposals refers to the major component of the programme which concerns joint EC/US consortia projects. This component will be administered on behalf of the European Community by the European Commission Directorate-General for Education, Training and Youth (DG XXII) and, on behalf of the United States Government, by the "Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education" (FIPSE) of the US Department of Education.

The joint EC/EU consortia projects are intended to add a new American-European dimension to university cooperation and to bring balanced benefits to the European Community and the United States. The main objectives are to:

- Promote mutual understanding between the peoples of the European Community and the United States, including broader knowledge of their languages, cultures and institutions;
- Improve the quality of human resource development in both the European Community and the United States;
- Improve the equality of transatlantic student mobility, including the promotion of mutual understanding, recognition and transferability of university credits;
- Encourage the exchange of expertise in new technologies in higher education and vocational education and training (e.g. through the use of new information technologies, for the mutual enrichment of practical experience in the European Community and the United States);
- Establish and develop partnerships among higher education, vocational education and training institutions, professional associations, public authorities, business and other associations, both in the European Community and the United States;
- Introduce an added-value dimension to the transatlantic cooperation which will complement the bilateral cooperation between the Member States of the European Community and the United States as well as other programmes and initiatives.

These objectives are to be achieved by promoting an innovative range of university, higher-education and training cooperative activities between the different regions of the European Community and the United States.

The programme is a small-scale initiative supporting, in this second year, a maximum of ten original projects which can only be executed, or preferably carried out, through multilateral groupings. It is not intended to duplicate activities which are, or can be, carried out on a bilateral basis between the United States and the Member States of the European Community.

Each joint consortium must involve a minimum total of six partners, including at least three active partners in the EC and three in the US. This combination must include at least two partners in the area of higher education or vocational training and training institutions in different Member States of the European Community, and in different States in the United States. The third and subsequent partners may be other education and training institutions or other relevant organizations (i.e. businesses, NGOs, publishers, government departments, chambers of commerce, research institutes) from the same or other Member States or State. In exceptional circumstances, in the case of the United States of America, two of the institutional partners may be autonomous campuses of a large State university with the third institutional partner being from another State.

Since one of the programme objectives is to encourage and increase the experience of the intra-Community cooperation networks, all previous experience as a partner in a European Community training/education programme (e.g. ERASMUS, COMETT, TEMPUS, PETRA, FORCE) will constitute an eligibility criterion for the European Community lead partner in a European Community/United States consortium.

Consortia may seek programme support for one or several types of activity as an integrated element of the project. Consortia should thus aim at pursuing a coherent strategy rather than engage in diverse activities. A major component of each consortium (with rare and justified exceptions) will be student mobility.

Transatlantic cooperative activities eligible for support are:

- Development of organizational framework agreements for transatlantic student mobility, including work placements, which will provide adequate language preparation and full university recognition;
- Structured exchanges of students, teachers, trainers and administrators in higher-education institutions and vocational education and training establishments, including work placement as appropriate;
- Joint development of innovative curricula, teaching materials, methods and modules, including those applying the new teaching technologies;
- Research internships at universities, industry or government laboratories for graduate or undergraduate students in science and engineering, provided that students are also enrolled on courses which require regular attendance;
- Short intensive programmes of a minimum of three weeks;
- Teaching assignments forming an integral part of the study programme at a partner institution;
- Other innovative projects, including the use of new technologies and distance learning, which aim at improving the quality and profitability of transatlantic cooperation in higher education, vocational training and training.

Financial support will be awarded to successful consortia for a maximum period of three years with the aim of providing seed-funding for carrying out joint innovative projects within three years or which can, once established, be continued without ongoing programme support.

The European Commission (DG XXII) will provide funding for direct use by European Community partners. The United States Department of Education (FIPSE) will provide funding for direct use by partners in the United States. Additional support for the US partners' activities will be supplied by other US agencies. Funds will be provided for the EC and US main partners respectively.

For a three-year project, the average total of funding for each consortium will be in the region of ECU 100,000 for the European Community consortium and ECU 130,000 for the United States consortium. The actual amount awarded in each case will depend on the number of partner members of the consortium and their pre-established cooperation links, as well as the type and level of activities to be undertaken.

In addition to the grant for consortium activities, each consortium may receive a sum designated for student mobility grants. For institutions in the European Community, this amount will be calculated on the basis of up to ECU 10,000 per partner institution, spread over the life of the project. Over the same period, the United States' institutions may each receive up to USD 15,000 for student mobility grants, which cannot exceed USD 3,000 per student.

This notice cancels and replaces the notice previously published in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Communities (OJ No S 19 of 28.1.1997, p. 25.)

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