Closed on 14th July 2015.To see the project's summary statistics please click here.
The EXPERTS II Project, composed of a Consortium of 7 EU partners and 13 South and South-East Asian partners from 10 different countries, sought to facilitate new collaborations between Higher Education Institutions in South and South-East Asia and Europe, whilst at the same time reinforcing existing cooperations in the region by exchanging information on science and policy issues, as well as sustainable development in academic cooperation.
The EXPERTS II Project aimed to establish an innovative framework for the capacity development of junior faculty staff members, post-doctorate and doctorate researchers, graduates, and undergraduates by means of professional training and providing research and study opportunities at one of the seven European host universities. In this way, it was hoped that the selected scholarship-holders would be able to upgrade their skills in specific fields of study thanks to the mobilities undertaken.
The main objectives of the EXPERTS II Project were:
- To build on the experience and existing cooperation of the EXPERTS II Consortium, and to establish sustainable cooperation among the partners from both SSEA and EU in terms of high quality research and education;
- To enhance the international cooperation capacity of the participating institutions from SSEA by transferring and sharing know-how and best practices, enhancing administrative capacities, and offering an opportunity to train the next generation of researchers and academic staff;
- To exchange ideas, views, and knowledge among the partners from both SSEA and EU, thus creating opportunities for enhanced communication, collaboration, cultural awareness, and a heightened understanding of the roles of HEIs nowadays;
- To promote EU Higher Education systems in the participating third countries, in particular to enhance the attractiveness of European higher education in the region;
- To promote cooperation between sending and hosting institutions, with the goal to increase the compatibility of Higher Education Systems in the EU and Asia and their joint efforts in establishing partnerships by facilitating the transfer of know-how and good practices.
Special emphasis was given in the EXPERTS II Project to research and cooperation potential, as well as the development of collaborative research initiatives and business opportunities through joint research initiatives in the priority field areas, namely Engineering and Technology, the Agricultural Sciences, Environmental Studies, Business Management, and the Social Sciences. Training opportunities have also been provided in the field of internationalisation by means of staff mobilities, and innovative and high quality research proposals have also been developed within the framework of doctorate and post-doctorate mobilities. The Consortium has engendered sound and effective institutional cooperations and consistently strove to develop and implement joint study programmes and foster both bilateral and multilateral international academic cooperations over the course of the project period, the effects of which shall be felt in the long-run and, indeed, are still in the process of becoming tangible now.
Project Activities and Accomplishments:
A total of 118 mobilities were undertaken within the framework of the EXPERTS II Project, which equated to 28 Undergraduate mobilities, 29 Master mobilities, 22 Doctorate mobilities, 13 Post-Doctorate mobilities and 26 Staff mobilities. Besides fulfilling and exceeding the total number of mobilities planned, addressing cross-cutting issues such as gender balance, brain-drain, and reaching vulnerable groups, the Consortium also achieved an equal distribution of scholarships across all mobility levels, which was further in accordance with the suggested distribution as given by the EACEA in their call for project proposals. In terms of respecting a gender balance, 39% of the scholarship-holder proportion was female which, given the context in certain countries, could be considered as a particular and very welcome achievement. Applications were received from candidates of all Target Groups, and a high number of applications were ultimately received, which is seen as a strong indication of the project’s success in attracting interest from all walks of life and socio-economic conditions. A targeted and ultimately successful promotional strategy was employed within the EXPERTS II Project, which focused on covering every geographical, gender-related and background-related aspect in order to ensure that numerous academically worthy candidates have been given the best opportunity to develop themselves both personally and professionally by means of this scholarship.
The EXPERTS II Project has also had a positive impact on the economic and social situation of the partner SSEAN countries since the important thematic areas of key relevance for the participating third countries were highlighted from the outset in the project proposal, and scholarships were awarded accordingly to students, researchers, and staff members conducting academic activities in priority fields of studies for their institutions, programmes, and regions (for example, the Agricultural Sciences, Engineering, Medicine and Public Health, Teacher Training, the Natural Sciences, and International Relations). The project has likewise contributed to upgrading and enhancing educational qualifications, as well as teaching and research skills, through the effective implementation of student, researcher and teaching staff exchanges from South and South East Asia to Europe. More specifically, 8 Administrative Staff members (out of 26 Staff mobilities in total) were trained under the EXPERTS II Project with regard to internationalisation processes and thereby learnt and acquired new techniques regarding management and administration which will prove decisive in implementing internationalisation strategies in the respective institutions, engendering institutional changes and curriculum development, and setting the scene for sustainable success in international academic cooperation in the future. Joint research projects, joint publications, enhanced international institutional relations, and the establishment of bilateral/multilateral agreements have all resulted from participation in the project, on individual and institutional levels.
All in all, scholarships have been awarded to students, researchers, and staff from 10 different countries, and international academic cooperations have been cultivated between 17 different countries in total. In most cases, these highly talented scholarship-holders who benefited from the scholarships would not have been able to enhance their qualifications in Europe without the funding provided through the project. The expectation here is that the increase in expertise and knowledge in the country-relevant fields has the potential to bring about change in the participating and targeted countries by contributing towards their socio-economic development. The project has also provided a platform for the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and best practice, permitting scholarship-holders and partners alike to address global issues and possible solutions. The increased mobility streams and exchange of experience between the EU and SEAN countries has contributed towards improved efficiency in university administration and has provided a solid foundation for interdisciplinary education and research. The project has further contributed to promoting European Higher Education, helped to improve and enhance the career prospects of students and researchers from SSEA, as well as to expose those in Europe to other educational, learning and research systems through contact with the scholarship-holders in their respective institutions, and fostered and promoted intercultural understanding.