Virtual exchanges in higher education and youth (ERASMUS-EDU-2024-VIRT-EXCH)

  • Action type: ERASMUS-LS ERASMUS Lump Sum Grants
  • Opening date: 5 December 2023
  • Closing time: 25 April 2024 17:00 (Europe/Brussels)
  • Budget per project: € 500 000 of total € 5 866 648
  • Project duration: 36 months
  • Official website


Virtual exchanges projects consist of online people-to-people activities that promote intercultural dialogue and soft skills development. They make it possible for every young person to access high-quality international and cross-cultural education without physical mobility. While virtual debating or training does not fully replace the benefits of physical mobility, participants in virtual exchanges ought to reap some of the benefits of international educational experiences. Digital platforms represent a valuable tool in partially answering the global constraints on mobility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual exchanges also help spreading European values. Moreover, in some cases, virtual exchanges can give ideas and prepare the ground for future physical exchanges not funded under this action .

Virtual exchanges take place in small groups and are always moderated by a trained facilitator. They should be easily integrated into youth (non-formal education) projects or higher education courses. Virtual exchanges can draw participants from both sectors, even if, depending on specific projects, they could involve participants from either only one of them or from both. All projects under this call will involve organisations and participants coming from both EU Member States and third countries associated to the Programme, and third countries not associated to the Programme in eligible regions.


The action will aim to:

  • Encourage intercultural dialogue with third countries not associated to the Programme and increase tolerance through online people-to-people interactions, building on digital, youth-friendly technologies;
  • Promote various types of virtual exchanges as a complement to Erasmus+ physical mobility, allowing more young people to benefit from intercultural and international experience;
  • Enhance critical thinking and media literacy, particularly in the use of internet and social media, such as to counter discrimination, indoctrination, polarization and violent radicalisation;
  • Foster the digital and soft skills development of students, young people and youth workers, including the practice of foreign languages and teamwork, notably to enhance employability;
  • Promote citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education;
  • Strengthen the youth dimension in the relations of the EU with third countries.


The Virtual Exchanges should be organised in one or more of the following thematic areas, which correspond to the priorities of the Erasmus+ Programme:

  • Inclusion and diversity;
  • Digital transformation;
  • Environment and fight against climate change;
  • Participation in democratic life, common values and civic engagement.

Within this broad framework, since Virtual Exchanges are a bottom-up initiative, participating organisations are free to choose the topics on which they will focus, but proposals must demonstrate their expected impact in relation to one or more of the objectives mentioned above (see also ‘Expected impact’ section below). Gender aspects should be taken into account as needed, depending on the projects’ scope and themes (e.g. by introducing gender sensitivity aspects in the trainings). Special attention needs to be given to the inclusion of socially and economically vulnerable people and persons unable to apply for physical mobility.


Projects will be funded based on work plans that integrate online cooperation activities, including:

  • Online-facilitated discussions between young people of youth organisations based in different countries, as part of youth projects. They could include role playing simulations;
  • Training for youth workers willing to develop a virtual exchange project with colleagues from other countries;
  • Online facilitated discussions between students of Higher Education institutions based in different countries, as part of higher education degrees;
  • Training for university professors/staff willing to develop a virtual exchange project with colleagues from other countries;
  • Interactive open online courses including traditional course materials such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets (like the well-known MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses, but putting an emphasis on interactive user forums in small groups to support community interactions among students, professors, teaching assistants, young people and youth workers).


All virtual exchange projects need to be:

  • Moderated by trained facilitators;
  • Secure and protective from the perspective of participants and hosts, in full compliance of the EU data protection rules;
  • Politically sound and culturally relevant: virtual exchange activities must be firmly embedded in the youth and higher education sectors and be up to date with young people’s online and offline cultures in the participating countries;
  • Open and accessible at user experience and interaction level. Registration and interactions with peers, facilitators, administrators, and other stakeholders should be straightforward and easy;
  • Mainly synchronously, with possible asynchronous components (e.g. readings, videos);
  • Finally, they must foresee a method of recognition of participation and learning outcomes for young people at the end of the exchange.

Participant organisations must arrange virtual exchanges for people in the 13-30 age range. If a project involves people under 18, participating organisations are required to obtain prior authorisation for participation from their parents or those acting on their behalf. Individual participants must be based in the countries of the organisations participating in the project.

In order to carry out their activities, projects should rely, as far as possible, on existing tools and platforms.


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