I.Definition and characteristics of an Erasmus Intensive Programme

What is an IP?
Key points:
  • Short programme of study which brings together students and staff from higher education institutions (HEI).
  • It can be a one-off activity or repeated over a limited number of years (EU financing is limited to a maximum of three years).
  • The ratio of staff to students must be such as to guarantee active classroom participation and to promote an element of curricular development in the implementation of the IP.
  • Eligibility criteria:
  • Eligibility period: 1 September N to 31 August N+1. Exceptionally, the end date of the IP may be after 31 August N+1, provided that the starting date is within the above defined eligibility period.
  • All participating institutions (both coordinator and partners) must hold an Erasmus University Charter
  • The activities should not consist of research activities or conferences.
  • The IP consortium involves at least 3 participating institutions from 3 different countries participating in LLP. At least one participating institution must be from a Member State of the European Union.
  • The planned location of the IP is in a country which is eligible to participate in the LLP.
  • The number of eligible students travelling from countries other than the country hosting the IP must be minimum 10.
  • The IP activity plan should include at least 10 continuous working days of subject-related work. The IP must take place without interruption and subject-related work days can only be separated by weekends and national public holidays. Teachers may stay less than 10 days.
  • IPs that are part of an Erasmus Mundus Master Course are not eligible for funding.
  • Participating students or teachers should be either :
  • - nationals of a country participating in the Lifelong Learning Programme; - nationals of other countries enrolled in regular courses in institutions of higher education or employed in a participating country, under the conditions fixed by each of the participating countries, taking into account the nature of the programme (please refer to relevant National Agency website).
What is the aim of an IP?
  • To encourage efficient and multinational teaching of specialist topics which might otherwise not be taught at all, or only in a very restricted number of universities/HEIs;
  • To enable students and teachers to work together in multinational groups and so benefit from special learning and teaching conditions not available in a single institution, and to gain new perspectives on the topic being studied;
  • To allow members of the teaching staff to exchange views on teaching content and new curricula approaches and to test teaching methods in an international classroom environment.
  • The IP must have an added value, compared to existing courses at the level of the participating institutions.
What are the specific features of IP which should be aimed for?
  • focus on subject areas for which shorter programmes give a particular added value;
  • give evidence of full recognition and credits to the activities by the participating institutions;
  • are part of integrated programmes of study leading to recognised double or joint degrees;
  • present a strong multidisciplinary approach;
  • use ICT tools and services to support the preparation and follow-up of the IP, thereby contributing to the creation of a sustainable learning community in the subject area concerned.
What is not an IP?
  • are part of integrated programmes of study leading to recognised double or joint degrees (with the exception of Erasmus Mundus Master Courses which are not eligible);
  • present a strong multidisciplinary approach;
  • focus on subject areas which are currently under-represented in Erasmus student mobility (over-represented areas: business studies, social sciences, arts, humanities, languages, law).
  • Priority will be given to IPs that (as set out in the Call 2010):
  • are part of integrated programmes of study leading to recognised double or joint degrees (with the exception of Erasmus Mundus Master Courses which are not eligible);
  • present a strong multidisciplinary approach;
  • focus on subject areas which are currently under-represented in Erasmus student mobility (over-represented areas: business studies, social sciences, arts, humanities, languages, law).
Which institutions can apply for support for organising an IP?

Higher education institutions holding an Erasmus University Charter (EUC) can apply. The applicant and all the partners must be holders of an EUC.

Who can benefit? How to calculate costs for beneficiaries?
    Academic year 2009/10:
  • Students that are registered at a respective partner HEI (first, second and third cycle).
  • Teaching staff of a respective partner HEI.
  • The participants shall be a national of a country participating in LLP or recognised by the country in which they are residents or refugees, stateless persons or permanent residents.
  • In exceptionally cases, persons who do not fulfil these criteria, might also participate, but they are not entitled to travel and subsistence costs. By including such participants, the balance between the number of participating students and teachers (which is one of the award criteria) may not considerably be influenced.
  • Erasmus students are allowed to participate in an IP which is held parallel with their Erasmus study period. For the calculation of the travel costs of this student, the university/HEI should be taken into account where the student spends his/her Erasmus study period.
  • For example, if the home institution of the student is in town X, the host institution for the Erasmus study period is in town Y, and the IP takes place in town Z, the eligible travel costs for the IP for this student would be between Y and Z and back.
  • However, if the NA is of the opinion that there are exceptional circumstances which justify a deviation from the established rules, it has the possibility to derogate from it. Please refer to point 2.5 of the Guide for NAs about the exception procedure. It is to be noted that the NA should apply this procedure only in very exceptional cases and follow the established procedure for such an exception as described in the Guide for National Agencies. The NA has to make sure that the exception made is documented, justified and approved at the appropriate level before action is taken.
  • As of academic year 2010/2011
    Participating students or teachers should be either:
  • nationals of a country participating in the Lifelong Learning Programme;
  • nationals of other countries enrolled in regular courses in institutions of higher education in a participating country, or employed in a participating country, under the conditions fixed by each of the participating countries, taking into account the nature of the programme (please refer to relevant National Agency website).
Can students or teachers with special needs get additional funding for their participation in an IP?

Yes. For the purpose of applying for a grant within the Lifelong Learning Programme (decentralised actions), a person with special needs is defined as a potential participant whose individual physical, mental or health-related situation is such that his/her participation in the project / mobility action would not be possible without extra financial support. The individual situation should be described and the particular needs and extra costs attached to it should be detailed in the application. Based on these explanations, on the availability of funding and the national rules, the National Agency will then judge whether extra support can be granted. As soon as the participation of teachers of students with special needs is known to the IP coordinator (from any HEI that participates in the IP), the IP coordinator should contact its NA and request extra funding for special needs. The NA can use the reserve fund for special needs, if there are funds available. For this please follow the guidelines under section 8.2.10 of the NA Guide ("Specificities of the mobility grants for persons with special needs (students and staff including IP and EILC participants)".The rules for granting the additional support for special needs would be those applied in the NA of the IP coordinator. If the NA decides to grant additional funding for participants with special needs in an IP, the NA must conclude an amendment to the initial grant agreement with the grant beneficiary. The additional funding can be given on the basis of real costs.

Can an organisation which is not a HEI (association, enterprise etc.) participate in an IP as a partner?

Since these bodies do not have an EUC and do not have any students they can only participate in the IP as external experts but not as partners. This would have to be explained in the application form. The costs of their participation should be covered from the organisational costs as they may not use the budget for travel and subsistence.

Can an IP take place in more than one location?
As a general rule, the IP should take place in one location. If the quality of the application is good and adequate reasons are given for having the IP in different locations it could be considered eligible. The rule of 10 continuous full days of subject related work has to be respected. In this case the eligible travel expenses are as follows:
  • from the location of the home institutions to the first location (except for participants from institution(s) from this location);
  • from the first location to the second location (for all participants);
  • back from the second location to the locations of the home institutions (except for participants from institution(s) from the second location).
  • The eligible subsistence costs are as follows:
  • for the first location: to everybody, except for participants from institution(s) from the first location;
  • for the second location: to everybody, except for participants from institution(s) from the second location
Can an IP take place in different locations simultaneously (multi campus approach with an e-learning/virtual dimension)?

The action Intensive Programmes aims at the mobility of individuals. According to the definition of mobility (see article 2, point 15 of the Legal Base - Decision 1720/2006/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of November 15 2006 - OJ L 327 of 24.11.2006) mobility means spending a period of time in another Member State, in order to undertake study etc. One of the aims of an IP is to bring people together in the same classroom (see the definition of IP in the IP fiche of the LLP Guide). Different "campuses" for the same IP at the same time do not respond to those basic requirements.

Is it compulsory to grant ECTS credits to the participating students?

It is highly recommended to grant ECTS credits to the students participating in an IP, but it is not obligatory. The IP applications get scores for this during the quality assessment. The IP partner institutions should agree among themselves about recognition issues. Participating students from different HEIs may have recognised different number of credits by their home institutions, according to national/institutional recognition rules. Information about ECTS credits recognised by each partner institution should be included in the application form.

II.Application and selection procedure

A. Renewals:

How to assess renewals?

Renewal IP applications that have passed the formal eligibility check will undergo a quality assessment by two experts, one of whom must be an external expert to the NA. The quality assessment of renewal applications will be based on different criteria than the quality assessment of new applications (for more details see the assessment handbook.)

May the renewal IP apply for a higher budget than the IP of the previous year(s)?

The applicant may apply for a different budget for the IP than in the previous round(s). The budget consists of the lump sum for organisation, the subsistence costs and the travel costs, so the NA or the assessing experts can easily check if the costs are realistic. The content of the application must be in line with the previous year(s).

How free is the applicant in choosing a yearly topic for renewals?

A new topic will without a doubt affect the content and the programme so it cannot be accepted. However, this application can be submitted as a new IP application

Is it possible to change the title in an IP renewal?

In principle the IP should keep the same name (to avoid confusion) but if it is a genuine renewal application and it is clear that the content and the programme has not changed, the change may be accepted, if duly justified by the applicant.

Is it possible to change the duration of an IP?

Each application is assessed independently but if the content and the programme is similar, the duration could change from year to year. The applicant should justify this in the renewal application form.

Is it possible to skip a year and apply for a renewal one year later?

It is not possible to have a discontinuity of the IP when applying for a renewal.

Is it possible to reject a renewal application?

It is not compulsory to accept a renewal application. If the application does not comply with the formal eligibility criteria or it is clear that the quality of the project is not good, the renewal can be rejected (see point 12 and the IP assessment handbook).

Is it possible to change the co-ordinating institution in a renewal application? How to assess renewals applying as a new IP at a different NA?

The general rule is to have the same co-ordinating institution. However, if appropriately justified it is possible to change the co-ordinating institution, as long as the new coordinating institution has to apply to the same National Agency as the original coordinator, given the fact that the project is the same one. If the coordination of the IP would move to the territory of another National Agency, the IP has to be submitted to the National Agency of the new coordinator. In this case, the application form has to be filled in entirely, as for all new IP applications. The application will compete with the new applications received by the NA to which the new coordinator applies. There is not more guarantee for the selection for granting than for any other new IP. However, the NA must make sure that the total duration of such an IP never exceeds 3 years. As of the application round 2010, the applicant has to indicate in the application form if the IP has been funded by a different NA since 2007 (same or very similar topic and/or same or very similar partnership). The application form (see footnote 1 in the first page) makes also clear that the total duration of funding for the same or very similar IP may not exceed 3 years, independently from the number of NAs that funded this IP. If the applicant does not indicate this information in the application form and the NA discovers it during selection, the NA should go back to the applicant and ask why he did not include this information. Then the NA decides whether the applicant's clarification is acceptable. If the NA has a clear indication/evidence that the applicant intentionally didn't indicate the information about the previous IP course(s), then the NA should exclude this applicant from the selection process. If the NA accepts the clarification (if there is no clear indication or evidence for the intentional retention of information), the NA can go on with the quality assessment. In case selected, the total duration of LLP funding for the IP in question may not exceed 3 years in total (by 1, 2 or even 3 NAs). If the NA discovers at a later stage, after the conclusion of the grant agreement, that the applicant held back the information about previous funding, the NA should go back to the applicant and ask for clarification. Then the NA decides whether the applicant's clarification is acceptable. If there is a clear indication/evidence that the applicant intentionally didn't indicate the information about the previous IP course(s), the NA has the right to terminate the grant agreement and require full reimbursement of the pre-financing payment (see grant agreement IV.2, last sentence). If the NA accepts the clarification (if there is no clear indication or evidence for the intentional retention of information), the IP may take place as stated in the grant agreement, but the NA must make clear to the beneficiary that the total duration of granting may not exceed 3 years in total (by 1,2 or even 3 NAs).

Is it possible to change the number of partner HEIs in a renewal application?

The general rule is to keep the same partnership. However, it is possible to make minor changes in the partnership between years if this is well justified and this does not affect negatively the overall quality of the IP.

B. New applications:

Is it possible to ask for IP funding for an already existing, programme which is a part of the regular student curriculum?

The innovative element is of high importance when selecting an IP. The IP must provide something significantly new in terms of learning opportunities, skills development, access to information, etc. for the participating teachers and students which is not possible at one single HEI. Programmes that exist already at single HEIs, do not meet this criterion. However, IPs that are part of integrated programmes of study leading to recognised double or joint degrees (with the exception of Erasmus Mundus Master Courses), may be granted. The duration of LLP funding may not exceed 3 years.

To what extent has a new IP to differ from a previous one? How do we judge the innovative element?

The new IP may not be the same as the old IP. The total duration of funding for the same or very similar IP may not exceed 3 years. As of the 2010 application round, the application form asks the applicants to give information about previous similar projects. The evaluators and National Agencies may decide, based upon the information received, whether the application can be considered for funding. The difference should be mainly in the topic, or to a lesser extent in the teaching methods, not so much in the partners and other features. Innovation is a main feature in the definition of IPs: "it should provide something new in terms of learning opportunities, skills development, access to information etc." The innovative character is also one of the award criteria which is judged by experts/NAs in the evaluation of proposals.