Here you can find out more information and details about the variety and spectrum of important EU programmes concerning higher education and training, the promotion of lifelong learning, existing frameworks to promote collaborative research, networking and dissemination, support actions for transnational coordination of national research activities etc. Many of these initiatives are not only limited to EU Member States but are also open for co-operation activities with partners in Eastern Europe, Central Asia or other regions of the world.

The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)

The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) 

Erasmus - higher education

Erasmus, the EU’s flagship education and training programme, emphasises student and staff mobility and European co-operation involving higher education institutions and other key players in the knowledge-based economy. It supports the creation of a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) through increased mobility. This allows for more innovation, growth and jobs in the EU. Over 1.5 million students have participated so far with a goal of reaching 3 million by 2012. Together with an enriched study experience, Erasmus also provides exposure to different cultures.
In addition to students, Erasmus also targets teachers, trainers, and others involved in higher education. This includes relevant associations, research centres, counselling organisations, etc. It is also open to enterprises, social partners and stakeholders, as well as public and private bodies providing education and training at local, regional and national levels.
Erasmus supports actions in the fields of mobility (period of study or placement abroad), European projects and networks.


The European Commission has been very active in supporting and complementing the efforts of EU Member States in this field. Through the eLearning Initiative and Action Plan, it has gained considerable experience in encouraging co-operation, networking and exchange of good practice at a European level.
The eLearning programme is a further step towards realising the vision of technology serving lifelong learning. It focuses on a set of actions in high priority areas, chosen for their strategic relevance to the modernisation of Europe’s education and training systems.
The four action lines of the eLearning programme are:

  • Promoting digital literacy
  • European virtual campuses
  • e-Twinning of schools in Europe and promotion of teacher training
  • Transversal actions for the promotion of e-learning in Europe

LINGUA - language teaching and learning

Lingua helps to raise the standards in language teaching and learning by ensuring the availability of sufficient language learning instruments and tools for assessing linguistic skills acquired;
it also encourages the development of new materials and a wider dissemination of existing methods which represent best practice and provide European added-value.

LEONARDO - vocational training

The Leonardo da Vinci programme focuses on the teaching and training needs of those involved in vocational education and training. It aims to establish and bolster the competitiveness of the European labour market by helping European citizens to acquire new skills, knowledge and qualifications and have them recognised across borders. It also supports innovations and improvements in vocational education and training systems and practices. One main objective is to increase the quality and attractiveness of vocational education and training in Europe.
Leonardo da Vinci is open to the entire spectrum of subjects covered by vocational education and training. It supports the transfer of knowledge, innovation and expertise between all key actors in this domain.
Leonardo da Vinci funds a wide-range of actions, notably transnational mobility, European projects focusing on the development or the transfer of innovation and networks. It addresses trainees in initial vocational training, people available on the labour market and professionals in vocational education and training, as well as any organisation active in this field.

TEMPUS - higher education in Central and Eastern Europe

Tempus promotes the voluntary convergence with EU developments in higher education deriving from the Lisbon Strategy to create more jobs and growth, and the Bologna Process to establish a European Area of Higher Education.
Tempus finances two types of action through regular calls for proposals published on this website.
Joint Projects are based on multilateral partnerships between higher education institutions in the EU and the partner countries. They can develop, modernise and disseminate new curricula, teaching methods or materials, boost a quality assurance culture, and modernise the management and governance of higher education institutions
Structural Measures contribute to the development and reform of higher education institutions and systems in partner countries, to enhance their quality and relevance, and increase their convergence with EU developments.


Socrates is Europe’s education programme and involves around 30 European countries. Its main objective is precisely to build up a Europe of knowledge and thus provide a better response to the major challenges of this new century: to promote lifelong learning, encourage access to education for everybody, and help people acquire recognised qualifications and skills. In more specific terms, Socrates seeks to promote language learning, and to encourage mobility and innovation.

Socrates comprises eight separate actions:
  • Comenius: school education
  • Erasmus: higher education
  • Grundtvig: adult education and other education pathways
  • Lingua: learning European languages
  • Minerva: information and communication technologies (ICT) in education
  • Observation and innovation of education systems and policies
  • Joint actions with other European programmes
  • Supplementary measures


The Grundtvig programme seeks to respond to the challenges raised by the necessity to update knowledge and to provide adults with pathways to improve their know-how and competences, as they progress through life so that they can adapt to changes in the labour market and society.

Grundtvig focuses on all forms of non-vocational adult and continuing education. It is targeted at learners, teachers, trainers and other staff in adult education and the educational institutions, organisations and other bodies offering and facilitating such learning opportunities. Adult education associations, counselling and information services, NGOs, enterprises, research centres and higher education institutions can work together through transnational partnerships, European projects and networks. Those involved in adult education can also take part in mobility activities.


The Commission facilitates co-operation amongst the ministries in charge of youth in the Member States and promotes a structured dialogue between policy-makers and young people and their organisations. The aim is to promote the active citizenship of young people, to foster their social integration in society and to ensure that a youth dimension is taken into account in other EU policies.
This policy work is supported by concrete action in the form of a specific programme for young people: the Youth in Action programme. The Commission’s role is to ensure the smooth and effective management of this programme and to monitor its implementation at national and European level. The Commission is also responsible for ensuring the coherence of the Programme, while further developing its various Actions, particularly by elaborating an overall strategy and priorities.


The EUROCORES (European Collaborative Research) Scheme is a unique framework offered by the European Science Foundation (ESF) to promote collaborative research, networking and dissemination while targeting broad and complex topics of research across all scientific domains at the European level and in a global context.
EUROCORES is not part of FP7 although the current funding for coordination and networking is provided by a contract in the Framework Programme 6. The research funding comes from national funding organisations, but the thrusts are not nationally or strategically driven but rather researcher lead and in consultation with the participating funding organisations. EUROCORES is working to promote and stimulate European collaborative research which is of the highest quality, innovative and investigator driven, in and across all scientific areas. EUROCORES enables researchers to work in joint research projects with colleagues in other European countries and beyond, whilst the funding remains national.


In 2006, the European Union and Canada extended the agreement in the fields of higher education, training and youth for another eight-year period (2006-2013). The new agreement, signed on 05 December 2006 at the informal education ministerial meeting in Helsinki (Finland), officially entered into force on 01 March 2007. It renews and reinforces the longstanding EU-Canada co-operation programme that was established in 1995. It aims primarily at promoting understanding between the peoples of the European Union and Canada and improving the quality of their human resource development.
Consortium projects will continue to be a cornerstone of the new programme. Important new dimensions are added, such as measures to foster an in-depth dialogue on policy issues, new activities in the area of youth, and the establishment of an alumni association to help keep former grantees in long-term touch with one another and to promote the co-operation scheme among future generations of students.


The European Union and the United States of America have signed on 21/6/2006 at the EU-US Summit in Vienna a new agreement on higher education and vocational training for another eight-year period (2006-2013). The new agreement renews and reinforces the long standing EU-US cooperation programme that was established in 1995. The programme is funded and managed jointly by the European Commission and by the US Department of Education. It aims primarily at promoting understanding between the peoples of the European Union and the United States of America and improving the quality of their human resource development. To achieve these objectives, the new programme will support the following main Actions:

  • Transatlantic Degree action providing support to multilateral partnerships of EU and US institutions for the purpose of setting up joint study programmes - including joint/double degrees - and transatlantic mobility of students and faculty;
  • Excellence Mobility Projects, providing follow-up financial support for student mobility to join consortia that have a proven track record of excellence in transatlantic cooperation;
  • Policy-oriented measures, addressing comparative higher education and vocational training issues, and promoting dialogue on recognition of qualifications and accreditations;
  • Schuman-Fulbright action providing scholarships to highly qualified professionals for undertaking studies or training on the opposite side of the Atlantic, in areas of specific relevance to the EU/US relations.  The details of the Schuman-Fulbright action will be developed as a cooperation between the European Commission and the US Department of State.