- Action type: ERASMUS-LS ERASMUS Lump Sum Grants
- Opening date: 5 December 2023
- Closing time: 7 March 2024 17:00 (Europe/Brussels)
- Budget per project: € 4 000 000 of total € 62 000 000
- Project duration: 4 years
- Official website
Alliances for Education and Enterprises aim to strengthen Europe’s innovation capacity by boosting innovation through cooperation and flow of knowledge among higher education, vocational education and training (both initial and continuous), and the broader socio-economic environment, including research.
They also aim to boost the provision of new skills and address skills mismatches by designing and creating new curricula for higher education (HE) and vocational education and training (VET), supporting the development of a sense of initiative and entrepreneurial mind-sets in the EU.
OBJECTIVES OF THE ACTION
These partnerships shall implement a coherent and comprehensive set of sectoral or cross-sectoral activities, which should be adaptable to future knowledge developments across the EU.
To boost innovation, the focus will be on talent and skills development. Firstly, digital competences have become increasingly important in all job profiles across the entire labour market. Secondly, the transition to a circular and greener economy needs to be underpinned by changes to qualifications and national education and training curricula to meet emerging professional needs for green skills and sustainable development. Thirdly, the twin digital and green transition requires an accelerated adoption of new technologies, in particular in the highly innovative deep tech domains, across all sectors of our economy and society.
The objectives of Alliances for Innovation can be achieved by applying to one or both of the Lots (an organisation can be involved in several proposals):
Lot 1: Alliances for Education and Enterprises
Alliances for Education and Enterprises are transnational, structured and result-driven projects, in which partners share common goals and work together to foster innovation, new skills, a sense of initiative and entrepreneurial mind-sets.
They aim to foster innovation in higher education, vocational education and training, enterprises and the broader socio-economic environment. This includes confronting societal and economic challenges such as climate change, changing demographics, digitalisation, the emergence of new, disruptive (deep tech) technologies such as artificial intelligence and rapid employment changes through social innovation and community resilience, as well as labour market innovation.
Alliances for Education and Enterprises bring together enterprises and both higher education and vocational training providers to work together in partnership. Operating within one economic sector or several different economic sectors, they create reliable and sustainable relations and demonstrate their innovative and transnational character in all aspects. While each partnership must include at least one VET and one higher education organisation, they can address either both or one of these educational fields. The cooperation between VET and higher education organisations should be relevant and should benefit both sectors.
They intend to achieve one or more of the following aims:
- Fostering new, innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning: fostering innovation in education design and delivery, teaching methods, assessment techniques, learning environments and/or developing new skills;
- Supporting skills development in the deep tech domains; supporting Europe’s innovation capacity by broadening its talent pool in these new, disruptive technologies;
- Fostering the setting up of incubators within education and training institutions across Europe;
- Fostering corporate social responsibility (e.g. equity, inclusion, climate change, environmental protection and sustainable development);
- Stimulating a sense of initiative and entrepreneurial attitudes, mind-sets and skills in learners, educational staff and other workers, in line with the Entrepreneurship Competence Framework (EntreComp);
- Improving the quality and relevance of skills developed and certified through education and training systems (including new skills and tackling skills mismatches);
- Facilitating the flow and co-creation of knowledge between higher education and vocational education and training, research, the public sector and the business sector;
- Building and supporting effective and efficient higher education and vocational education and training systems, which are connected and inclusive, and contribute to innovation.
At least one of the following activities (non-exhaustive list) should be included in each Alliance for Education and Enterprises:
- Jointly developing and implementing new learning and teaching methods (like new multidisciplinary curricula, learner-centred and real problem-based teaching and learning, using innovative technologies, making greater use of micro-credentials);
- Developing and testing continuous education programmes and activities with and within enterprises;
- Developing and implementing educational and training programmes to support the development of skills needed in the deep tech domains;
- Setting up incubators within education and training institutions across Europe, in close cooperation with the entrepreneurial sector, to help student entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into businesses. This could be achieved, for example, by providing a wide range of services starting with skills, financial, business and management training, as well as provision of office space, and facilitating venture capital financing.
- Developing and testing solutions to pressing social demands not addressed by the market and directed towards vulnerable groups in society; addressing societal challenges or relating to changes in attitudes and values, strategies and policies, organisational structures and processes, delivery systems and services;
- Developing solutions for challenging issues, product and process innovation (through the collaboration of students, professors and practitioners).
Developing a sense of initiative and entrepreneurial mind-sets, competences and skills
- Developing new teaching methods and learning tools that incorporate transversal skills learning and application throughout higher education and VET programmes developed in cooperation with enterprises and aimed at strengthening employability, creativity and new professional pathways;
- Introducing wherever appropriate a sense of initiative and entrepreneurship in a given discipline, curriculum, course, etc. to provide students, researchers, staff and educators with the competences, skills and motivation to develop a sense of initiative and entrepreneurial mind-set and to be able to confront various challenges in their educational, professional and private lives;
- Opening up new learning opportunities through the practical experiences and application of a sense of initiative and entrepreneurial competences and skills which can involve and/or lead to the launch of new services, products and prototypes, and the creation of start-ups and spin-offs;
- Introducing more “student-centred approachees” with students tailor-making their own educational pathways.
Stimulating the flow and exchange of knowledge between higher education, VET, enterprises and research
- Building inclusive and connected HE, VET systems and enterprises through mutual trust, cross-border recognition and certification, flexible pathways between VET and HE, fostering VET at higher EQF levels, and enhancing the mobility for learners and workers;
- Apprenticeships and study field related activities in enterprises, which are fully embedded in the curriculum, recognised and credited; set-ups to trial and test innovative measures; exchanges of students, researchers, teaching staff and enterprise staff for a limited period; providing incentives for involvement of enterprise staff into teaching and research; analysis of research data. Where relevant the projects could link to the European Alliance for Apprenticeships.
Identifying resilience-related, market needs and emerging professions
- Identifying market needs and emerging professions (demand side), enhancing the responsiveness of systems at all levels to labour market needs (supply side); adapting HE and VET provision to skills needs by designing and delivering transnational sector-wide curricula integrating work-based learning;
- Identifying those skills that are needed in the public domain to solve societal challenges (e.g. climate change, health, deep tech skills) and encourage resilience at societal and community level, including via the cooperation of HEIs and VET providers with national, regional and local authorities as well as the private sector to contribute to designing and implementing Smart Specialisation Strategies in regions;
- Providing support to overcome the skills mismatch both for resilience and market needs.
Lot 2: Alliances for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills (implementing the ‘Blueprint’)
Alliances for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills aim to create new strategic approaches and cooperation for concrete skills development solutions – both in the short and the medium term – in areas implementing a major action of the European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience, the Pact for Skills. The main objective of the Pact is to mobilise and incentivize all relevant stakeholders to take concrete actions for the upskilling and reskilling of the workforce, by pooling efforts and setting up partnerships, also at EU level, addressing the needs of the labour market, supporting green and digital transitions as well as national, regional and local skills and growth strategies. Therefore, the deliverables of Alliances for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills, i.e. sectoral skills intelligence, skills strategies, occupational profiles, training programmes, and long-term planning, will be an important contribution to the work of the ecosystem-based large-scale partnerships that have joined the Pact for Skills. Alliances for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills seek to tackle skills gaps on the labour market that hamper growth, innovation and competitiveness in specific sectors or areas, aiming both at short term interventions and long term strategies. These Alliances will be implemented in the 14 industrial ecosystems identified in the New Industrial Strategy for Europe (see eligibility criteria). The large-scale Pact for Skills partnerships in ecosystems will build on the Blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills. Therefore, Alliances under Lot 2 will support the implementation of the commitments under the Pact by developing sectoral skills strategies. These strategies have to lead to systemic and structural impact on reducing skills shortages, gaps and mismatches, as well as ensuring appropriate quality and levels of skills. The sectoral skills strategies must include a clear set of activities, milestones and well-defined objectives with the goal to match demand and supply of skills to support the overall implementation of ecosystem-based large-scale skills partnerships under the Pact. The Alliances aim to build the bases for these Skills partnerships and define the pathway that should be continued after the projects are finalised. Drawing on evidence regarding skills needs with regard to occupational profiles, Blueprint Alliances support the design and delivery of transnational education & training content, as well as teaching and training methodologies, for quick take-up at regional and local level and for new occupations that are emerging. For this, Alliances should base their proposals on existing work of Centres of Vocational Excellence, of regions implementing smart specialization strategies, of European Cluster Partnerships and of Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) of the European Institute of Technology (EIT) that are active in the same industrial ecosystem. Proposals should include the design of continuing vocational training programmes to address urgent skills needs of people in working age. Proposals should also include developments of emerging occupational profiles, related qualifications, which should cover upper and post-secondary VET levels (EQF levels 3 to 5) and tertiary levels (EQF levels 6 to 8). Furthermore, proposals should include the design of related core curricula and education and training programmes leading to those qualifications. Each project must include among its partners both vocational education and training (VET) and higher education (HE) organisations and labour market actors. Ideally they also involve policy bodies, certifying bodies as well as European sectoral associations and representatives of industry.
The following activities should be implemented:
Developing a strategic approach to sectoral cooperation on skills
- Setting up sustainable cooperation on skills development between key industry stakeholders including social partners, education and training providers, and public authorities (on national and regional level). The project will also aim at building cooperation between large companies and micro, small and medium companies (SMEs) throughout the value chain in a particular industrial ecosystem;
- Gathering skills intelligence on a continuous basis: delivering relevant EU and country and/or regional level qualitative evidence and quantitative data according to linked open data format; developing a common methodology for anticipating future skills needs as well as monitoring (on a yearly basis) progress and the evolution of the demand and supply of skills based on credible foresight scenarios, drawing on the EU Skills Panorama and, where relevant, the work of the OECD, the World Economic Forum and existing Sector Skills Alliances;
- Mapping of existing upskilling and reskilling support available in the sector/ecosystem (provided by industry, public and private stakeholders) and identifying which of those actions could be upscaled to support companies in the value chains;
- Based on the skills intelligence, developing a skills strategy for the industrial ecosystem including priorities for actions to support the objectives of re- and upskilling the workforce of the industrial ecosystem and those who could join the sector (e.g. economically inactive). The strategy should detail how major trends, such as global, societal, and technological developments in the industrial ecosystem, are likely to affect jobs and skills needs. It should describe the expected timeline and give particular attention to the impact of digital and deep tech technologies. It should identify and define occupational profiles and related skills that are likely to emerge in the sector (i.e. will be completely new). It should also identify key industrial players and stakeholders that should be involved in the implementation of the strategy. This strategy should be the one of the first key deliverable of the project, indicating a clear set of activities, milestones and well-defined outputs, as well as setting out concrete priority actions suggesting how to match future demand and supply of skills for these emerging occupations. The strategy should be used as a base for building the partnership under the Pact for Skills;
- Where relevant, ensuring that results of the project are available in open data format so that they can feed into the Cedefop’s Skills Intelligence and the European Skills, Competencies, Qualifications and Occupations (ESCO);
- Delivering relevant EU and country and/or regional level qualitative evidence and quantitative data according to linked open data format.
Designing European sector-wide agreed ‘core’ curricula and training programmes
- Within the first year of activity (reactive response)
In parallel to the actions above, all projects should rapidly address urgent skills needs in occupations in an industrial ecosystem resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and the digital and green transition.
This action follows a lump-sum funding model. The amount of the single lump-sum contribution will be determined for each grant based on the estimated budget of the action proposed by the applicant. The amount will be fixed by the granting authority on the basis of the estimated project budget, evaluation result and a funding rate of 80%. The maximum EU grant per project is:
Lot–1 – Alliances for Education and Enterprises
- 1 million euros (2 years project)
- 1,5 million euros (3 years project)
Lot–2 – Alliances for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills (implementing the “Blueprint”):
- 4 million euros (4 years project)
Financial support to third parties in the form of grants or prizes is not allowed.
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