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Erasmus Mundus, an ongoing success story

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As the Erasmus Mundus programme celebrates its twentieth anniversary, we focus on the highly-recognised international Master programmes in which the University of Bordeaux excels.

Photo : Cohort of students from the Neurasmus 2023 Master programme ® University of Bordeaux
Cohort of students from the Neurasmus 2023 Master programme ® University of Bordeaux

Twenty years on, the Erasmus Mundus programme continues to offer international mobility opportunities to students from all over the world, enabling them to benefit from very high-level training in a wide range of fields (chemistry, neurosciences, environmental sciences, etc.). Since 2014, the programme has focused on Master programmes, and the figures show that it has been a great success: 585 Master projects have been funded, involving institutions in 140 countries, with more than 48,000 students enrolled in these courses.

Since the beginning of Erasmus Mundus Master programmes, 469 French higher education institutions have taken part, making France the most involved country worldwide.

The University of Bordeaux has also played a part in this success. Over the past two decades, the university has participated as coordinator or partner in a number of Master programmes, including the Algant Master, which was one of the very first Erasmus Mundus Masters in 2004, and Neurasmus, which has welcomed more than 170 students from over 50 countries since 2010. The University of Bordeaux is the third university in France in terms of the number of projects in which it participates.

The Erasmus Mundus programme has played an important role in the internationalisation of the University of Bordeaux's study offer, with eighteen Erasmus Mundus projects supported - nine as coordinator and nine as partner.

The Erasmus Mundus joint Master degrees in which the University of Bordeaux participates as coordinator or partner:

Erasmus Mundus

Erasmus Mundus joint degrees are high-level integrated study programmes designed and delivered by an international partnership of higher education institutions. An Erasmus Mundus Joint Master (EMJM) involves a minimum of three institutions from different countries, including at least two member states of the European Union or non-EU countries associated with the programme. In addition, other educational and/or non-educational partners with specific expertise and interest in the field of study may also be involved.

By supporting these joint programmes, the EU aims to encourage excellence and internationalisation among the participating institutions. Substantial grants enable students to take part in these prestigious courses, amounting to 1,400 € per month per student over a maximum period of 24 months, covering all the costs incurred by students taking part in the programmes (accommodation, travel costs, subsistence, equipment, etc.).

Neurasmus, neuroscience open to the world

Interview with Pascal Fossat, professor at the University of Bordeaux and leader of the Neurasmus project (European Master in Neuroscience)

What was the starting point for Neurasmus?

Neurasmus was proposed by professor Daniel Voisin in 2011 with the objective of creating a high-level European programme to train the neuroscientists of tomorrow. At the time, the programme was based on an academic approach. The programme has subsequently been renewed twice, in 2016 and 2020, under the direction of professor Agnès Nadjar, who has steered the programme towards developing students' careers by focusing on career paths outside academia (private sector), and then towards developing students' entrepreneurial spirit (entrepreneurship).

What are the prospects for the Master in the coming years?

The programme ends in 2026, with the last cohort being recruited this year. We are preparing for its renewal with a curriculum that will develop careers outside academia and the conceptual underpinnings for the neurosciences of tomorrow (open science, data management, open resources, data sharing, data pipelines and use, as well as the popularisation and transmission of knowledge). We will be integrating a new European partner (University of Galway) who will develop the pharmacological approach through contacts with companies in the sector in Ireland. In its new form, the programme will bring together eight partners, including three ENLIGHT partners (Gottingen, Galway and Bordeaux) and one partner from outside Europe (Université Laval in Quebec). We will also be welcoming NTU Taiwan as an associate partner, while retaining our historical associate partners such as SPARK and Ottawa.

What are the main challenges you face as coordinator? What are your greatest satisfactions?

The challenge is ensuring that all consortium members share a common vision of the programme. Proposing new ideas to Europe that are adapted to the needs of science and technological progress, and managing to sustain the programme over time, with a gap period between each application having with no European funding.
The major satisfactions are to have been able to stabilise a very high quality and solid consortium, and to see it grow with new partners. We have also succeeded in retaining the loyalty of our 'alumni', who have come together in an alumni office that is very active in helping current students with their personal development, and we have seen that the vast majority of the 150 or so Neurasmus students have remained in the neuroscience sector, with more than 200 scientific publications to their name. Finally, every year the number of students applying to the programme continues to rise, demonstrating the appeal of Neurasmus and its worldwide reputation, with 500 applications for just 18 places!

Neurasmus, key figures: 

In total, since its creation, Neurasmus has welcomed around 150 students, 7 partner institutions at present (8 in the next application), 50 nationalities represented.

Pascal Fossat, coordinator of the Erasmus Mundus Neurasmus Master programme ® University of Bordeaux
Pascal Fossat, coordinator of the Erasmus Mundus Neurasmus Master programme ® University of Bordeaux

Find out more

Neurasmus website