Two Erasmus+ actions – Knowledge Alliances and Strategic Partnerships in Higher Education – are expected to have a significant impact at local, national and European levels. Between 2014 and 2018, almost 1 000 Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships between higher education institutions and 93 Knowledge Alliances between universities and businesses received EU funding. To analyse the extent to which these actions will facilitate modernisation of Higher Education systems and impact policy at different levels, a comprehensive analysis is needed.

PPMI, in partnership with the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), analysed the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships and Knowledge Alliances actions through systemic/policy, institutional/organisational and individual levels.

The analysis encompassed extensive desk research, taking into account publicly available sources and data provided by the Commission and EACEA. Findings are also based on the results of an EU-wide quantitative survey programme, including feedback and opinions collected from Erasmus+ National Agencies, National Authorities and 258 Strategic Partnership and Knowledge Alliance projects awarded in 2014-2016 (representing 504 organisations). Research is complimented by 26 case studies in which individual projects and certain thematic issues/topics are analysed in greater detail, as well as by the evidence drawn from a qualitative follow-up survey of Erasmus+ Higher Education Strategic Partnerships’ project coordinators and partners. The study team also carried out exploratory interviews with stakeholders at EU, national and project levels. Social network analysis was performed to systematically assess the topics/themes covered by the Strategic Partnership projects, to describe the overall network structure and to showcase the interconnectedness of participating organisations.

PPMI aimed to identify the key areas for improvement and to provide the Commission with a set of recommendations concerning programme’s impact. The study findings facilitate an improvement in the structure and management arrangements of future Erasmus+ transnational cooperation actions in the field of Higher Education. The full version of the final report can be accessed here.


Reflections about the study:

  • The research was featured in a press release of the European Commission (“Erasmus+: a turning point in the lives of 5 million European students”), reviewing the impact of the programme based on the findings of two large-scale Erasmus+ Impact Studies.
  • The key points of Erasmus+ Impact Studies have been summarised in a factsheet (available here).
  • European Commission Policy Officer Harpa Sif Arnarsdóttir reviewed the impact studies during a video conference, available on the Erasmus+ social media channel (here).

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