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Erasmus+ Annual Report 2018 - background guide

28 January 2020
by eub2 -- last modified 28 January 2020

The European Commission published on 28 January the Erasmus+ Annual Report 2018, covering the fifth year of Erasmus+, the European Union's flagship programme to support and strengthen education, training, youth and sport in Europe.


33 countries participated in 2018 in the programme: all 28 EU Member States, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, North Macedonia and Turkey. The programme is also open to partner countries across the world.

Over the last three decades, more than 10 million people have participated in Erasmus+ and its predecessors. For many of them, it turned out to be a life-changing experience.

Since 2014, the programme has become broader and more innovative, providing opportunities for study periods abroad, traineeships, and apprenticeships for both higher education and vocational education and training students. It offers youth exchanges, volunteering and staff exchanges in all fields of education, training and youth, as well as projects in the field of sport. Erasmus+ also continued to become more open to people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

What were the main developments in 2018?

In 2018, many Erasmus+ projects focussed on the development of innovative curricula, boosting new technologies and digital competences. They reflected the importance of these subjects for increasing employability and fostering inclusion. The Digital Opportunity Traineeship Initiative was launched to better support students to acquire the skills necessary for their future and has enhanced specific digital skills of students in all disciplines. The programme also increased the support provided to long-duration mobility experiences with a strong work-based component for vocational education and training learners ("ErasmusPro").

Once again, in 2018, the Erasmus+ programme reached out to a record number of participants and beneficiaries:

  • 95,000 organisations benefited from funding to carry out 23,500 projects.
  • In the field of higher education, more than 470,000 students, trainees and staff spent a learning period abroad during the 2017/2018 academic year.
  • More than 155,000 participants were involved in youth mobility projects.
  • The European Week of Sport 2018 saw unprecedented success with more than 50,000 events across Europe.

Work on the digitalisation of administrative processes associated with Erasmus+, in particular regarding higher education, continued throughout 2018. The Erasmus+ Mobile App continued to serve as a digital one-stop-shop for students, providing them with a range of services. These services eased student's periods of mobility, allowed them to sign learning agreements online, and provided a direct link to the Erasmus+ Online Linguistic Support, an online language course in 24 EU languages that enables Erasmus+ participants to improve their language skills.

Students and other Erasmus+ participants have downloaded and installed the Erasmus+ mobile app more than 73,000 times since its launch in mid-2017. More than 530,000 people have benefited from online language training since 2014, among them almost 8,000 newly arrived refugees.

Moreover, the European Youth Portal, with 5.4 million visits in 2018, launched the Erasmus+ Virtual Exchanges platform. This ground breaking project enables youth in Europe and the Southern Mediterranean to engage in meaningful intercultural experiences online, as part of their formal or non-formal education.

Finally, eTwinning, a community connecting teachers and schools, reached the landmark figure of more than 640,000 registered users since 2005. Similarly, the School Education Gateway and Electronic Platform for Adult learning (EPALE), with 60,000 and 47,000 registered users respectively, contributed to the exchange of information, ideas, and practices across Europe.

What other projects related to education, training, and youth received funding in 2018?

Erasmus+ promotes cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices in the fields of education, training, and youth:

  • Strategic Partnerships are cooperation projects thatprovide opportunities for a variety of public, private, and non-governmental organisations to run a broad range of activities. They can boost innovative, quality, and inclusive education, foster training and youth work in a digital environment. They can also help to improve competences through lifelong learning, as well as empower young people and strengthen their involvement in different communities and democratic processes. For example, in 2018, a total of 2,100 school education and school exchange projects received funding, while in adult education close to 500 projects were supported.
  • Capacity building actions support the modernisation, accessibility and internationalisation of higher education in partner countries across the world, as well as promoting cooperation and exchanges between partner and programme countries in the field of youth. Under the 2018 call, this action funded 147 higher education projects and 170 youth projects.
  • Knowledge Alliances (transnational projects bringing together higher education institutions and business) helped develop new ways of creating, producing, and sharing knowledge and entrepreneurial skills and competences. In 2018, the programme funded 31 Knowledge Alliances, involving 330 organisations.
  • The Sector Skills Alliances funded 17 projects designed to identify and address skills needs and the development of skills strategies, as well as to support vocational education and training. 234 organisations were involved. These alliances are transnational projects identifying or drawing on existing and emerging skills needs in a specific economic sector and/or translating these needs into vocational curricula. They are run by a consortium of organisations, mainly with links to the vocational education and training sector.

How does the programme promote inclusion, equity and skills?

Building on synergies with the European Year of Cultural Heritage, in 2018, Erasmus+ called for actions to raise awareness of the importance of Europe's cultural heritage. These actions also supported skills development, social inclusion, critical thinking and youth engagement.

As in previous years, Erasmus+ projects supporting social inclusion through education, youth and sport activities were a priority. This is reflected in the programme's funding for formal and non-formal education and training, and encompasses all levels and settings of education: early childhood education and care, youth and sport activities, initial and continuing vocational education and training, higher education and adult learning.

In line with the New Skills Agenda for Europe, Erasmus+ also remained a strong pillar in promoting the full range of knowledge, skills, and competences that help people succeed in our fast-changing societies, including transversal skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and an entrepreneurial mind-set.

What developments were there in the sport sector?

In sport, a budget of €46.1 million funded 199 projects, 118 of which were run by grassroots sport organisations. These included 11 non-profit European sport events, which focussed on encouraging social inclusion and equal opportunities in sport, and on increasing participation in sport and physical activity.

In addition, it funded the fourth edition of the European Week of Sport with unprecedented success, with more than 50,000 events across Europe, along with activities under the Tartu Call for a healthy life style and the promotion of social inclusion through sport.

The 2018 #Beactive Awards recognised nine nominees from across Europe based on their commitment to promote sport and wellbeing in their communities and organisations, and the #BeInclusive EU Sport Awards recognised sports organisations working with ethnic minorities, refugees, people with disabilities, youth groups at-risk, or any other group that faces challenging social circumstances.

How does the Commission support higher education and youth cooperation in partner countries?

Individual mobility: 2018 was a successful year for the international dimension of Erasmus+. Around 28,000 higher education participants from the Erasmus+ partner countries came to study or teach in the programme countries, and almost 18,000 students from programme countries studied or taught in a partner country. With 44 newly selected Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees in 2018, Erasmus+ is funding more than 3,180 student scholarships over six years.

Cooperation projects: the two Capacity Building actions in the fields of Higher Education and Youth were another means of engaging with the rest of the world, and brought together 2,800 organisations in 317 new projects in 2018. In particular, youth cooperation with partner countries neighbouring the EU was intensified within the existing Western Balkans Youth Window, the Eastern Partnership Youth Window and the Youth Window for Tunisia, which provide additional funds to reinforce the participation of these countries in the programme.

In 2018, the Jean Monnet Activities supported 235 new actions in 49 countries. The successful applications included many teaching modules, university chairs, networks, projects, centres of excellence and support to associations involving total support of €15.7 million. Close to 50% of the support went to applicants based outside the European Union, which confirms that the Jean Monnet Actions have become truly global.

What data is available on the Erasmus+ projects?

The statistical annex to the 2018 Erasmus+ report offers comprehensive information about the different actions and the budget and commitments available for them, along with detailed information on the number of projects, participants and organisations. Data per country is also available for selected actions.

Qualitative information on the Erasmus+ projects is available through The Erasmus+ Project Results platform, a database giving free access to descriptions, results and contact information for all projects funded under the Erasmus+ programme in education, training, youth, and sport. Results can also be retrieved in excel format for further analysis.

Erasmus+ Annual Report 2018, general and country-specific factsheets

Source: European Commission

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