It was the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku) that named UiS as the 2019 Erasmus Institution of the Year. The name refers to Erasmus+, which is the EU’s education programme.
Among the reasons given for awarding the prize, Diku stated that:
“UiS not only established a prestigious European university in the preceding year, they also established a knowledge alliance, both of which are highly competitive initiatives with a low funding rate. In 2019, they also established a capacity building project and are participating well in strategic partnerships and joint degrees. Even though they have not had the highest growth in mobility figures in relation to the previous year, over a period of three years they have doubled the number of students going on exchange within Europe and have good participation in global mobility.”
Diku said that there were a number of good candidates for this year’s prize. Several institutions have established major, prestigious, centralised projects and can point to good mobility figures.
“However, it is difficult to ignore the major new innovation for the year - the European University, where the Erasmus+ programme is a means of developing the university of the future,” Diku stated.
This summer, UiS received approval from the European Commission to become a so-called European University. This was a joint application from the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU), for which UiS is the Norwegian member.
This new institution is known as ECIU University and recently had its official kick off in Barcelona.
During the next three years, UiS and 10 other European universities will together test out a new educational concept, whereby researchers and learners will collaborate with public and private enterprises to solve genuine social challenges.
The pilot project is part of Erasmus +, and ECIU University has exchanges across Europe as an integrated part of its study programme.
About the prize
The Erasmus Institution of the Year recognises a higher educational institution in Norway that can demonstrate exceptional results within the Erasmus+ programme over an extended period, and in the preceding year. Emphasis is placed on there having been a positive development.
The prize is a NOK 5,000 Kilroy gift card. The winner will be encouraged to allow the gift card to benefit the students by creating a mobility campaign, competition or other initiative. This is the fifth time that a prize has been awarded for Erasmus Institution of the Year.
When assessing which institution should be awarded the prize, Diku emphasised breadth in terms of participation, expressed in the following criteria:
- Active participation in several of the Erasmus + initiatives: mobility within and outside Europe, strategic partnerships and centralised actions
- Positive progression and development
- Strategic foundation and synergies
- Commitment to new, underutilised areas (ref. centralised actions). Proportion of applications/projects approved within centralised actions (capacity building, knowledge alliances, Jean Monnet, joint degrees, sectoral alliances, KA3 policy development).
Text: Anja Jasinski Kandal-Wright and Leiv Gunnar Lie
Photo: Diku/Anja Jasinski Kandal-Wright