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164 Indian students and scholars chosen for EU scholarship

June 09, 2008

The European Union's Erasmus Mundus scholarships for the academic year 2008-09 have been granted to 2,000 students and 450 teaching staff from outside Europe, of which 164 have been selected from India.

The Erasmus Mundus programme, first introduced in July 2001, is a cooperation and mobility programme in the field of higher education. The programme confirms the European Commission's interest in opening up European higher education to the rest of the world. It aims to enhance quality in European higher education and to promote inter-cultural understanding through co-operation with third countries.

The programme offers scholarships to highly qualified third-country graduate students and scholars to participate in an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course. The scholarships allow students to study in Europe for one or two years and obtain a Master's degree from one of the 103 Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses offered by the Consortia of European higher education institutions. In the framework of the course, scholars can also carry out teaching and research assignments in participating institutions for a maximum of three months.

European and third-country graduate students who have completed their undergraduate studies and successfully obtained a first-class degree awarded by a higher education institution anywhere in the world can enrol in an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course. Students have to register for an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course directly with the consortium offering the Course. The consortium informs the students about specific admission conditions (e.g. study results, language skills, etc.) and about application deadlines.

In total, more than 6,000 students will have received an Erasmus Mundus scholarship to obtain a degree in Europe over the five-year period from 2004 - 2008. Over the same period, more than 1,000 teaching staff from third countries have been given an Erasmus Mundus scholarship to actively contribute to masters courses in teaching or research activities. The programme has allocated 33 million euro for the period 2005-2009 for scholarships to Indian postgraduate students.

One of the characteristic features of the Erasmus Mundus programme is that student grantees are allowed to follow their courses in at least two universities located in different European countries. This gives them the opportunity to learn about European cultures, languages and academic systems.

The second phase of Erasmus Mundus (2009-13) is expected to start in 2009 with a planned total budget of 950 million euros. Its main new features are the inclusion of joint doctoral programmes, increased scholarships for European students and an intensified structural cooperation with third-country higher education institutions.

The Commission has recently also launched the "Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window" which will be implemented complementary to and in synergy with the Erasmus Mundus Programme. This new initiative funds student (from undergraduate to post-doctorate level) and academic staff mobility between European higher education institutions and institutions from targeted third countries. It is envisaged to integrate this mobility scheme into the new Erasmus Mundus programme to start in 2009.

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