Articles taggés avec ‘United Kingdom’

EU Funding: Educating for enterprise in Europe

Jeudi 28 août 2008

If the European Union is to meet the “growth and jobs” objectives of the Lisbon strategy, it must foster a more enterprise-friendly culture

 

 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for projects that promote entrepreneurship and innovation culture.
 Award aiming at raising awareness of enterprise activities and celebrate entrepreneurial success

The crucial role of education in promoting more entrepreneurial attitudes is now widely recognised and an ongoing EU project is looking in depth at how to foster greater entrepreneurial awareness in higher education curricula.

The ‘entrepreneurial gap’ between Europe and other countries, notably the USA, has been identified as a barrier to economic growth: Whilst in Europe only 45% of the population would like to be entrepreneurs, in the USA the equivalent figure is over 60%. This is largely due to cultural factors, and low awareness of the advantages of starting your own business. Teaching young people about entrepreneurship and equipping them with basic entrepreneurial skills, whatever their area of study, has been identified as a key way of increasing Europe’s enterprise potential.

The wider picture

The Entrepreneurship in Higher Education project was launched in 2006 with the objective of analysing the current state of play in Europe with regard to the teaching of entrepreneurship in higher education, particularly in non-business courses. It consists of two main parts: an expert group(1) report and a Europe-wide survey.

The Expert Group met six times in Brussels over a period of two years and its final report was published in April 2008. It is now being widely disseminated to ministries and educational institutes in all Member States.

The ‘Entrepreneurship in higher education, especially in non-business studies’ report provides a preliminary overview of the teaching of entrepreneurship in higher education institutes in Europe, with particular attention to entrepreneurship training in non-business studies. It attempts to identify obstacles to the provision of teaching in this area and highlight examples of good practice, while examining the potential role of public policy in improving the current situation.

Open for business

The experts’ report finds that the teaching of entrepreneurship is not yet sufficiently integrated in the curricula of higher education institutions and that the majority of entrepreneurship courses are offered as part of business and economic studies. Teaching of entrepreneurship is particularly weak in some of the new Member States. This is in part due to a lack of financial and human resources for this type of education, but also to a certain rigidity in institutional structures and educational curricula.

Teaching entrepreneurship requires an inter-disciplinary and action-oriented approach, including, for example, group and team techniques for creating new business ideas, the use of case studies and multi-disciplinary business planning workshops. At present, teaching staff have few incentives to get involved in this type of activity, and links with the business sector need to be cultivated more widely.

A range of solutions

In order for entrepreneurship education to be integrated more widely in non-business studies, action is required at several levels. For public policy, the experts suggest national task forces be set up to examine how best to integrate entrepreneurship into curricula from primary to advanced levels, as well as the adoption of legislation to support relations between private business and universities. It also proposes the development of an accreditation system and the establishment of awards for institutions which lead the way in this field.

At institutional level, they propose a range of initiatives aimed at fostering a more entrepreneurial culture within each institution, and creating incentives for the involvement of students, teaching staff and external organisations. There is also a role for the European Commission, which could support programmes for the training of entrepreneurship teachers and the creation of European networks and cross-border exchange initiatives.

The experts report moreover provides several examples of good practice and suggests a number of possible courses of action which would help to foster better integration of entrepreneurship studies in European education. The report will, however, be supplemented by a more in-depth survey, across all Member States, the results of which are due to be released in autumn 2008.

 
  Source:
Enterprise & Industry online magazine

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EU Funding:EU allocates €4 million to support industrial and regional development in the Banat region - Serbia

Mercredi 16 juillet 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Support to participation of South-Eastern European countries in the stabilisation and association process (”Closed programme”)

As part of the EAR’s municipal support programme for 27 municipalities in north-eastern Serbia, €4 million has been allocated to support a major development project to construct an industrial zone at Ecka near the town of Zrenjanin, “capital” of the Banat region

Zrenjanin, with a population of 80,000, is the third largest town in the Serbia’s northern province of Vojvodina. As a whole the municipality has 132,000 inhabitants and has pursued a very successful development policy over the past few years. One industrial zone has already been set up, but is now entirely occupied, and the municipality thus applied to the Agency’s MSPNES programme for assistance to establish a second zone at Ečka on the outskirts of the town.

The project was promoted at a press event in Zrenjanin on 2 July. This was attended by a European Union delegation consisting of Ambassadors Josep Lloveras (European Commission) and Ron Van Dartel (Netherlands), and, from the Agency’s Belgrade Centre, Daniel Giuglaris (head of office) and Vassilis Petrides (programme manager). Welcoming them all, Mayor Goran Knežević stated that the visit affirmed EU support for the town as a place of long-established European values. Expressing thanks for the donation, he highlighted its significance for this industrially-developed and geographically important part of Serbia, and stated that construction of the Zone would create about 8,000 new jobs.

Presenting details of the project to the delegation and the press, deputy mayor Predrag Stankov pointed out that the Ečka project had been one of 105 submitted by the 27 municipalities covered by the EAR’s north-east Serbia programme. The Agency had decided to support only four of these projects from the grant fund attached to the programme, and the new industrial zone had come top of the list – hence the generous level of EU funding. The town had already invested €2.2 million, the EU would provide a further €4 million, and the Serbian National Investment Programme an additional €1.3 million. This budget would be spent on building and connecting the complete infrastructure needed for the 72-hectare zone – networks for water supply, sewage disposal and surface water drainage, telecommunications, gas and electrical systems, roads, security fencing.

Daniel Giuglaris confirmed that the Zrenjanin project had been chosen on the basis of a detailed feasibility study, and had met all the necessary criteria – it had met stipulated technical requirements, justified social and economic demands, secured co-financing from other sources, and proved its economic viability. It would boost the economic development of the town and the region, and thus fitted well into the overall purpose of the Agency’s municipal support programmes. Since 2001, there had been three of these, focusing on the east, south and south-west of Serbia, but this, the fourth, in the north-east of the country was by far the biggest. Covering the three districts of the Banat region, it also included the Branicevo district centred on Požarevac south of the Danube. It thus completed the huge geographical circle of municipal support programmes financed by the CARDS programme.

The north-east support programme, Giuglaris went on, included a grant fund totalling €13.5 million for financing major priority investment projects such as the Ečka Zone. The tendering procedure to find a contractor for this was now well advanced and it was expected to let the contract by the end of August.

 
  Source:
European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR)

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EU Funding: Tempus offices in Jerusalem and Ramallah to upgrade co-operation on education and training

Mercredi 16 juillet 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for the enhancement of quality in higher education and the promotion of intercultural understanding through co-operation with third countries
 Grants for co-operation projects in the field of education and training between the EU and its Neighbouring countries

The European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Ján Figel’, today opened a National Tempus Office in Israel and reopened one in the occupied Palestinian territory

The move intensifies co-operation on education and training matters with Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Both Israeli and Palestinian universities now fully profit from participation in the EU’s external co-operation programmes in higher education, Tempus and Erasmus Mundus.

The Tempus programme started life in 1990, following the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is now in its fourth iteration, and there are 28 participating partner countries. The National Tempus Offices will serve as focal points and facilitators on the ground, and have the mission to contribute to the relevance, effectiveness and impact of the Tempus programme.

The National Tempus Office opened at the Council of Higher Education in Jerusalem is the first ever such office in Israel, which joined the Tempus Programme at the beginning of its present, fourth phase (2007-13). Under the first Tempus IV invitation to submit projects for support, eight Israeli institutions participated in projects submitted as partners, and there were two projects in which institutions from Israel were involved as coordinators.

In Ramallah, the Commissioner will today re-open the National Tempus Office, to be hosted by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education. Palestinian participation in the Tempus programme dates back to 2002, and most of its higher education institutions have participated in the programme through 11 Joint European Projects and three Structural Measures. In addition, 49 Individual Mobility Grants have been awarded to university professors. The opening of the Tempus Office will give Palestinian higher education institutions the possibility to build on previous activities and re-establish their participation in the Tempus programme.

Israeli and Palestinian universities are also participating in Erasmus Mundus, the EU’s co-operation and mobility programme in the field of higher education which promotes the EU as a centre of excellence in learning. Erasmus Mundus provides - inter alia - scholarships for high calibre third-country students and academics to participate in joint masters courses selected under the programme.

The main share of funds under Erasmus Mundus is for mobility actions, which means that students and scholars are the main beneficiaries of the programme. By the end of the academic year 2008-09, ten Palestinian students and scholars, and 54 from Israel will have profited from this. Another 161 students and academics from Palestinian and 139 from Israeli universities will have been supported through the complementary External Co-operation Window, which promotes inter-university partnerships between EU and neighbourhood universities. Several Israeli and Palestinian universities also participate in cooperation projects with Erasmus Mundus masters courses and in projects that aim at enhancing the attractiveness of European Higher Education in the world.

 
  Source:
Press room - European Commission

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EU Funding: Commission proposes to Member States to jointly address major societal challenges

Mardi 15 juillet 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 New framework programme for research and technology aiming at better exploiting research capacities in Europe and transforming scientific results into new products, processes and services.

Climate change, diseases, or energy are societal challenges shared by all EU countries

National research, which currently makes up 85% of all European public research funding, will have more impact if Member States pool their resources and better coordinate their efforts. The European Commission today proposed that Member States adopt a new approach of “Joint Programming”. It aims at tackling current compartmentalisation which undermines the efficiency of Europe’s research.

The Communication adopted today by the Commission “Towards Joint Programming in Research: Working together to tackle common challenges more effectively” proposes that Member States first identify a limited number of key challenges on which to focus their efforts, and then, agree on a common vision, develop and implement a Strategic Research Agenda for each area.

The Communication stresses that Joint Programming will be a voluntary process and need not involve all Member States in each specific initiative. It can relate to the coordination of existing national programmes, or the setting up of entirely new ones, pooling resources and collectively monitoring and reviewing progress. The Commission’s role is that of a facilitator and the implementation may or not may involve Community financing. If the EU Council of Ministers agrees with the proposal, Joint Programming Initiatives should be underway by 2010.

The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan and the foreseen Marine Research Strategy provide pilot experiences for this initiative.

Background

The Communication is one of five policy initiatives planned by the Commission to follow up the 2007 Green Paper “The European Research Area: New Perspectives” and is a further step in the creation of the “fifth freedom” by removing barriers to the free movement of knowledge.

 
  Source:
Press room - European Commission

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EU Funding: Erasmus Mundus: successful Lebanese students and scholars receive scholarships to study in the EU

Mardi 8 juillet 2008
 
 

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for the enhancement of quality in higher education and the promotion of intercultural understanding through co-operation with third countries
 Grants aiming at co-operation in higher education between the EU and Third-Countries through a co-operation and mobility scheme addressing students and academic staff.

Over thirty-eight Lebanese participants have benefited from the EU’s Erasmus Mundus programme to date. Nine students and one scholar from Lebanon have been selected to receive an Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses scholarship for the academic year 2008/09

These scholarships will allow them to study in Europe for one or two years and obtain a Masters degree from one of the 103 top-quality Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses offered by consortia of European higher education institutions. These ten Lebanese participants can be added to the eleven other successful Lebanese candidates that took part in Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses in 2007/8 and the 17 Lebanese students hosted in EU universities as part of the Erasmus Mundus scheme of exchanges (Erasmus Mundus External Co-operation Window – EM ECW).

The Erasmus Mundus programme is the EU’s co-operation and mobility programme in the field of higher education. It aims to enhance quality in European higher education and to promote intercultural understanding through co-operation with third countries. It supports European top-quality Masters Courses and also provides EU-funded scholarships for third country nationals participating in these Masters Courses (students, and scholars for teaching and research activities). The programme also provides scholarships for EU-nationals studying at partner universities throughout the world. The Masters Courses are high-quality Masters level programmes designed and offered by a consortium of higher education institutions in at least three different European countries. They address all fields of study. Each course must foresee a study period in at least two of the three institutions, and should last from one to two academic years. 21 Lebanese students and scholars have been selected to follow Masters Courses in European universities in 2007/8 and 2008/9. They are from the Lebanese University, Université Saint Joseph, the American University of Beirut and Notre Dame University.

The European Commission has also launched the Erasmus Mundus External Co-operation Window (EM ECW) which offers 1 to 34 months exchanges to undergraduate, masters, doctorate and post-doctoral students as well as academic staff. To date, this exchange scheme is limited to two Lebanese universities, the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese University, which are members of a university consortium lead by the Lund University from Sweden. In the EM ECW 2007 selection round, 5 EU students were selected to be hosted in Lebanese universities, while 17 Lebanese students are hosted in EU Universities.

Apart from the Erasmus Mundus programme, the European Commission supports the development of the higher education sector in Lebanon through its Tempus programme for inter-university cooperation. Under this programme, curricular reform and governance reform have been selected as priorities for the years 2007-2013. Since 2003, Lebanon has benefited from almost EUR 7 million.

Additional information

More than 2,000 students and 450 teaching staff from outside Europe have been selected to receive an Erasmus Mundus scholarship for the academic year 2008/09.

In 2008, a total number of 17 new partnerships of Erasmus Mundus Masters Consortia with higher education institutions in non-European countries were selected. Altogether, they encompass 62 universities from 28 different third countries. These 17 partnerships foresee an outgoing mobility of an estimated 477 European students and 192 European scholars over the next two years. The partnerships allow European higher education institutions, scholars and students to strengthen their ties with other higher education environments in the world.

This latest selection completes the first phase (2004-2008) of Erasmus Mundus. 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. 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 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. In addition, the new proposal integrates a mobility scheme for all levels of higher education.

 
  Source:
EC Delegation to Lebanon

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EU Funding: Erasmus programme receives award for the second time in 2008

Lundi 30 juin 2008

 European funds

Related EU Grant Loans Programme(s):
 Grants for students and teachers mobility projects, for networks and partnerships in the field of higher education

The EU’s Erasmus Programme, which promotes student and staff exchanges in higher education, has been awarded the “Chemical Engineering Medal” from the University of Valladolid, Spain

The award, handed over on 27 June 2008, is a recognition of the programme’s contribution to academic and professional performance in chemical engineering, a section of Valladolid’s university in which almost 80 % of students participate in an Erasmus exchange. This is already the second award Erasmus received in Spain this year.

The President of the Chemical Engineering Section at the University of Valladolid, Prof. Maria José Cocero Alonso, handed out the “Chemical Engineering Medal” to the EU’s Erasmus programme at the 2008 graduation ceremony on 27 June 2008.

According to the University of Valladolid, student and staff mobility has always been considered as one of the most relevant aspects in its undergraduate and graduate training. In recent years, almost 80 % of its chemical engineering students spent at least one semester at one of the university’s 27 partner universities across Europe under an Erasmus exchange agreement.

The Erasmus programme is a sub-programme of the EU’s global programme in the area of education and training, the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP). Erasmus has an overall budget of approximately € 3.1 billion for the period 2007-2013, and aims at enhancing the quality and reinforcing the European dimension of higher education as well as at increasing student and staff mobility.

Currently, more than 3,100 higher education institutions in 31 countries in Europe participate in the Erasmus programme, which has so far supported 1.7 million students.

Founded in the early 13th century, the University of Valladolid is Spain’s oldest university and therefore the forerunner of many other prestigious universities in the country. The university has about 3,500 staff with campuses in four cities, enabling over 30,000 students to choose from more than 100 study programmes, 17 postgraduate programmes and 50 Master’s programmes. Since the beginning of the Erasmus Programme, the University of Valladolid has been an active partner and the leading European university in the mobility of teaching staff under Erasmus. More than 180 lecturers and 800 students from the university move abroad and at the same time more than 850 European students come to study in Valladolid, which holds the number 20 spot of the top 100 European universities under Erasmus.

This is already the second award for Erasmus in 2008: in May, the programme received the “Prize for Excellence in integrating young people into the workforce” from the NoviaSalcedo Foundation of Bilbao, Spain.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

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EU Funding: European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe Award 2007

Vendredi 27 juin 2008

On Friday, June 27 at 18:30, the exhibition about the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2007 opens at the Triennale di Milano, where it will remain on view until August 10

In addition to the Prize-winner and the Emerging Architect Special Mention, this exhibition includes the jury’s selection of 38 shortlisted projects, providing a unique overview of current European architectural production and the vitality, diversity and high-quality that characterise it.

In addition to photographic panels, texts and audiovisual documentation, featured are 33 models made expressly by the architects of the respective works for this exhibition

 
  Source:
European Commission Culture Portal

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EU Funding: Budget report 2007 confirms better management but warns time is running out for unspent funds

Vendredi 27 juin 2008

The latest data on EU spending shows, once again, the growing trend for higher investment in long-term economic progress and employment

The Financial Report 2007 also reveals how the first budget of the new programming period 2007-2013 and of an enlarged EU-27 saw the share of funds for new members increase, while the biggest overall recipients remained the same as 2006. High spending (almost the entire 2007 budget left EU coffers) confirms active budget management is bearing fruit. However lessons for future spending must be drawn from the unspent funds on which Member States lost out last year. Ensuring the continuous, effective absorption of all funds is vital.

Out of the €114 bn spent in 2007, a massive €44 bn (38.4%) went on growth and employment – a 3.7% rise on 2006 and higher than funds for farming, where market expenditure and direct payments enjoyed almost a €43 bn share (37.4%). 2007 also saw 10.5% (€12 bn) of EU cash go on rural development, fisheries and environment and over 5% (€7.3 bn) was spent on EU actions abroad.

Most of the 2007 funds - over 92%, or €105 bn – were spent on the ground in the EU’s 27 Member States with the four biggest recipients taking almost half of the total budget. France held on to its position of overall top recipient, with €13.9 bn, followed by Spain (€12.8 bn), Germany (€12.5 bn) and Italy (€11.3 bn). The EU-12 made steady ground with their share of spending growing from 12.9% in 2006 to 17% in 2007 –five and a half billion more. Poland benefited most, receiving €7.8 bn (7.4%).

The division of payments for agriculture and cohesion show a similar picture to 2006. For farming and rural development, France stayed in first place, taking more than €10 bn - nearly 20% of agricultural spending. Spain followed with €7 bn (12.9%) then Germany with €7 bn (12.8%). Italy and the UK were next in line with €6 bn (11%) and 4.2 bn (7.9%) respectively. Of the EU-12, Poland received the biggest share, €3.1 bn (5.8%). As in 2006, the top cohesion policy beneficiary was Spain, taking €5.4 bn or 14.7%. Greece moved up to second place with €4.6 bn (12.4%), followed by Italy and Germany. Poland also moved up the cohesion policy ladder, ahead of Portugal, France and the UK.

However, 2007 also saw €227m lost in unspent funds from the previous programming period (2000-2006). Under the n+2 rule, Member States lose committed money that is not claimed as a payment within two years. The highest 2007 loss was €66m for Germany, but the largest share lost was in Luxembourg: €3.5m - nearly a quarter of their funding - and the Netherlands which lost €19.9m, over 4% of its total funding. The only EU-12 losers were Slovenia (€0.2m) and Slovakia (€1.4m). From the EU-15 only Ireland and Finland avoided any losses.

Speaking to the media, Commissioner Grybauskaitė stressed how the loss of funds in 2007 serves as a harsh warning for next year.

Although the budget 2007 grew by €8 bn (+6.9% on 2006), it remained stable in terms of EU wealth, staying at 0.93% of EU GNI like the previous year. The nominal increase was mainly due to the arrival of Romania and Bulgaria.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

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EU Funding: Lower charges, greater consistency, more competition: Commission consults on bringing down mobile phone tariffs in Europe

Jeudi 26 juin 2008

Aiming to spur competition among operators and lower phone charges for European consumers, the Commission today starts a public consultation on the future regulation of “voice call termination rates” in the EU based on a draft Commission Recommendation on termination rates

Voice call termination rates are the wholesale tariffs charged by the operator of a customer receiving a phone call to the operator of the caller’s network. Included in everyone’s phone bill, and therefore eventually paid by the consumer, these tariffs are determined by the intervention of national telecoms regulators. At the moment the decisions of the national telecoms regulators result in very divergent rates across the EU. Mobile termination rates range from €0.02/min (in Cyprus) to over €0.18/min (in Bulgaria) and are 9 times higher than fixed line termination rates (on average €0.0057/min for local call termination). This distorts competition between operators from different countries and between fixed line and mobile phone operators. The public consultation on this proposal will be open until 3 September 2008.

The Commission, after assessing over 770 regulatory proposals by national regulators over the past 5 years, warned today that price regulation of termination markets across Europe lacks consistency. It said that gaps between fixed and mobile termination rates and between mobile termination rates imposed by national regulators cannot be altogether justified by differences in the underlying costs, networks or national characteristics. This could have the following negative effects:

* Legal uncertainty and increased regulatory burden for operators providing cross-border services.
* National regulators bringing down mobile termination rates in their country risk punishing their own mobile industry if a neighbouring regulator still allows higher rates.
* Investment in new networks and services hampered if operators face different regulation in every country.

At present, fixed operators and their customers are indirectly subsidising mobile operators by paying higher termination rates for calls made from fixed lines to mobiles. This cross-subsidisation is estimated at €10 billion in Germany for 1998-2006 (WIK Consult) and €19 billion in the UK, Germany and France for 1998-2002 (CERNA-Warwick-WIK).

The Commission today presented a draft Recommendation for convergence of termination rates in Europe, including clear principles on which cost elements should be taken into account when national telecoms regulators determine termination rates, an efficient costing methodology, and symmetric regulation (where the same price caps apply, within a country, to mobile and fixed operators, respectively). This will help foster an effective regulatory environment and avoid distortions such as cross-subsidies from fixed to mobile consumers. The advice of the European Regulators Group (ERG), which has made several attempts towards more consistent regulation of termination rates since 2006, was taken into account by the Commission in the draft Recommendation.

Background

The Commission will issue the final text of the Recommendation on the regulatory treatment of fixed and mobile termination rates in October under article 19 of the Framework Directive of the EU Telecom rules, which allows the Commission to further harmonise the application of EU Telecoms rules in the single market to promote competition and consumer benefits. Member States have to ensure that national regulators take “the utmost account” of Commission Recommendations.

 
  Source:
Press room - European Commission

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EU funding: Commission launches debate on relations with Overseas Countries and Territories

Mercredi 25 juin 2008

The Commission today tabled a Green Paper on the future relation with Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT), aimed at launching a broad debate on the EU–OCT relations.

Following the public consultation, the Commission will propose a new partnership that takes better account of the special characteristics and present economic situation in the 21 islands .

Because of their special relations with Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the UK, OCTs are closely associated with the EU. For historic reasons, the current relationship was very much modelled on the relationship with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP) Such an agreement does not correspond to the specific social, economic and environmental challenges faced by OCTs today.

The Green paper is intended to launch a broad discussion on the opportunity of replacing the current agreement with an innovative partnership for the OCTs. Any future partnership should be tailored to their specific status, needs, challenges and potential whilst also recognising the close link, mutual interest and solidarity between the OCTs and the EU. Any future partnership should fully or partly replace the current one when the present Overseas Association Decision expires on 31 December 2013.

The Commission will hold a online consultation covering these issues from 1 July to the 17 October 2008.

 
  Source:
Press Room - European Commission

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