In 2015 the Erasmus exchange program broadened its scope of activity, allowing European higher education institutions to apply for funding for cooperation with universities in partner countries, namely, universities located outside Europe.
Since the very start of the new program RTU was able the secure and maintain a leading position in Latvia in terms of the allocated budget and implemented mobilities by organizing student as well as staff teaching and training mobilities with universities from all across the world. A successful start was ensured by the previously established Erasmus Mundus cooperation network that has strengthened and become significantly wider within the last five years.
During the five-year lifespan of the program, from September 2015 to July 2020, RTU implemented 696 staff and student mobilities in cooperation with higher education institutions in 43 countries, securing a leading position among Latvian universities. The overall budget received for the implementation of the project within the five-year period: 2 730 070 EUR
RTU has managed to achieve numerous important goals within this period: a significant number of staff mobilities has been implemented, emphasizing the importance of the Erasmus initiative in relation to RTU’s strategic goals; the number of female participants has slightly exceeded the number of male participants, which is especially important in relation to providing opportunities for talented female students coming from Third World countries, where women often face challenges when establishing themselves in research and science; hundreds of students have had their first international experience; cooperation with the Latvian embassy network has been strengthened, which will facilitate organizational aspects of mobilities in the future not only for RTU, but other Latvian universities as well.
One of success stories within the framework of this program has been RTU’s cooperation with Panama. When the new Erasmus+ program commenced in 2015, RTU was the only higher education institution not only in Latvia, but the entire Europe, that had received funding for cooperation with this Central American country. In cooperation with Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá within the last five years we have not only implemented student and staff mobilities, but also strengthened cooperation within the fields of railway transport, water research and telecommunications. We are also currently involved in an Erasmus+ capacity building project with this partner and other universities from Europe and South America. This shows how the Erasmus+ program becomes a foundation for other research activities and a broader scientific cooperation.
The International Cooperation and Foreign Students Department of RTU currently continues to implement mobilities allocated within the Erasmus+ calls of 2019 and 2020, and anticipates 2022 when the European Commission will present the new Erasmus model for cooperation with partner countries. RTU will continue to strive towards strengthening its leading position in Latvia and providing our staff and students, as well as the staff and students of our partners, wider opportunities within the framework of the new program.