In 2004 the European Commission launched the Erasmus Mundus funding scheme to spur the creation of joint masters programmes between universities of at least three different European countries and attract foreign students to those programmes. So far 80 European Masters’ programmes covering all disciplines have been established, involving 323 European and foreign universities. In addition, Erasmus Mundus has offered around 5,500 scholarships to students coming from India, China, Brazil, Russia, and 100 other non-European countries to study in Europe for one of these Master’s programmes. Erasmus Mundus has also funded 500 foreign scholars so they may teach or do research in Europe in the context of these Masters’ courses.
European students also have access to the new European Masters’ courses, and about 1,000 European students in the programme have received scholarships to spend three months at a foreign partner institution.
Erasmus Mundus was scheduled to end in 2008, but the European Commission decided last week to inject 950 million euros to keep the proramme running until 2013. The new funding will do more than just keep the programme running, however.
The scope of Erasmus Mundus will expand to create joint doctoral programmes and offer scholarships to foreign and European Ph.D. students and academics to take part in these. The amount of the scholarships will be revised so that they are in line with international schemes like the Fulbright scholarships. As a guideline, a foreign masters student coming to Europe may expect 24,000 euros per year. In addition, Erasmus Mundus will integrate and expand an existing (but so far separate) programme to support partnerships between European and foreign institutions and offer short-term grants for the exchange of students and other academics. Details will be refined and confirmed before the new programme components are launched in 2009.