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EU programme for education, training, youth and sport

Knowledge Alliances

What is the aim?

Knowledge Alliances are transnational projects which bring higher education institutions and business together to work on common issues.

The overall aim is to help strengthen Europe's capacity to innovate and to support the modernisation of Europe's higher education systems.

Knowledge Alliances focus on

  • developing new, innovative, and multidisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning
  • stimulating entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial skills of higher education and company staff
  • exchanging knowledge and working together on new solutions

What is the opportunity?

Knowledge Alliances offer the opportunity for organisations to develop a project that contributes to one of the focus areas above. They are open to any discipline and sector, as well as cross-sectoral cooperation.

The partners of a Knowledge Alliances share common goals and work together towards mutually beneficial results and outcomes.

Examples of areas that can be supported include

  • boosting innovation in higher education and business
  • developing entrepreneurship and skills
  • stimulating the flow and exchange of knowledge between higher education and business

How does it work?

Organisations interested in participating must do so as part of a consortium, including

  • a minimum of six independent organisations from at least three Programme Countries
  • of which least two must be higher education institutions (HEIs)
  • of which at least two must be enterprises/businesses (consultancies and intermediaries are eligible on the understanding that they demonstrate pertinent experience and commitment in the relevant field)

Organisations from Partner Countries are welcome, but their added value in the consortium must be demonstrated.

A consortium must be led by an applicant, which is the organisation that submits the proposal on behalf of the partners and is responsible for the overall implementation of the project. Project partners may either be

  • Full Partners who participate actively in the project under the authority of the applicant, and
  • Associated Partners, who contribute to specific tasks or activities

The role of Associated Partners must be clearly defined at application stage and they cannot receive funds. Both kinds of partner can come from either a Programme or Partner Country.

What else should you know?

Projects are two to three years in length although, in exceptional cases, the duration can be extended by up to six months upon request.

The maximum funding for a two-year project is €700,000, and the maximum funding for a three-year project is €1,000,000.

Higher education institutions from Programme Countries participating in an application must hold a valid Erasmus Charter for Higher Education. The ECHE is not required for HEIs from partner countries.

Quality assurance must be a specific component of the project, to ensure delivery of the expected results and an impact that goes beyond the partner organisations.

Knowledge Alliances should produce publications, such as reports, guidelines, and handbooks and, where possible, make them available as Open Educational Resources. They should make use of existing initiatives and embed digital tools in their working methods.

Knowledge Alliances should foresee participation in thematic clusters and other initiatives to promote the sharing of best practices. They should also budget for the costs of presenting their project and results at the University Business Forum.

How do you apply?

Applications should be submitted to the annual calls for proposals published by the European Education and Culture Executive Agency.

Find out more

The Erasmus+ Programme Guide is the main source of information on Knowledge Alliances, although more information on the application process is available from the European Education and Culture Executive Agency.

For further information you can contact the European Education and Culture Executive Agency.


Wendy Broers, Senior Lecturer of ZUYD University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands on Knowledge Alliances between enterprises and higher education to foster innovation

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