EUA Members and partners are invited to voice their support and to provide feedback on a draft advocacy proposal to the EU to establish a specific grant under the Erasmus+ programme for support of the placement of scholars and students with international protection status at European higher education and research institutions. As the funding should come from budgets for third-country cooperation, this should not diminish the intra-European Erasmus+ programme.
Data collected by EUA on the Refugees Welcome Map proves that universities all over Europe already support students and scholars who are forced to flee their countries. The main reason why universities cannot do more is simply a lack of funding. A grant for international talent with protection status would not solve the refugee crisis, but it would allow European universities to sustain and enhance their engagement for refugees. It would also present an opportunity for the further internationalisation of the higher education sector. For member states, this should be welcome as support and as a complement to their own integration efforts, and the European Union would set a clear signal internationally, demonstrating its support for academic freedom, for civic and human rights, raising awareness and inspiring others to follow suit.
Concrete scenarios and potential building blocks were discussed with EUA members and partners and the results were put together in a concept note. The idea is to bring this proposal into the discussion on the successor programme of Erasmus+ (post 2020) and hopefully, prior to this, to launch a pilot proposal.
We would welcome your institution or organisation to express its support for the proposal and provide feedback by 2 February. The feedback will be considered for inclusion in the final version of the proposal and related future advocacy efforts by EUA. A larger number of institutions have already responded positively, and very useful new ideas have been received on how such a grant would work best for both the institutions and refugees.