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On 24 December 2020 the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the UK would not continue to participate in the Erasmus scheme after the end of the current programme and that the UK would develop a new replacement scheme – the Turing Scheme. A DfE press release on 26 December 2020 gave details of the scheme. UK institutions will be asked to bid to join the Turing scheme in the new year.     

The Erasmus Programme, known officially as ‘Erasmus+’, began its current incarnation in 2014. Erasmus+ continues a range of European Union (EU) funding streams that have existed since 2007, such as the Socrates Programme and the Lifelong Learning Programme.

The Erasmus+ scheme provides funding for education, training and sport, with a particular focus on youth work, but it also provides funding for activities aimed at all ages. The EU sees these programmes as a means of addressing socio-economic issues that Europe may face like unemployment and social cohesion.

10,133 students in higher education in the UK participated in the 2018 ‘call’ (application period) for study placements abroad through the Erasmus+ scheme.

In 2017/18, the most popular host countries for study placements were Spain (2,220), France (2,049), Germany (1,302), Netherlands (812), and Italy (711).

The total value of all Erasmus+ projects funded in the UK has increased in each year from €112million in the 2014 ‘call’ to €145million in 2017.

The UK was the 6th highest participating country in the programme in 2018.

29,797 students came to the UK (all study and work placements) in the 2018 ‘call’.

In the UK the Department for Education oversees Erasmus+ and the programme is managed by the UK National Agency which is a partnership between the British Council and Ecorys UK.

Information on the programme is available on the UK Erasmus+ website.

The UK Government has promised to underwrite funding that was due to continue after Brexit and any funding agreed will be honoured even if the placements take place after the end of the transition period.

The Erasmus+ programme is run on seven yearly cycles and the current cycle will end in 2020.

On 30 May 2018 the EU Commission announced that it is proposing that for the next cycle starting in 2021 any country in the world will be able to participate if they meet set requirements. It is unclear at present what the UK’s participation in Erasmus+ will be after Brexit but the announcement opens up the possibility of the UK’s continued involvement in the programme.

This briefing focuses on the Erasmus+ programme from a higher education perspective.


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