Edinburgh Global

Student and staff mobility after Erasmus

2023 has brought considerable changes to the landscape of international mobility for students and staff at the University of Edinburgh and across the higher education sector.

The transition from the European Union’s Erasmus+ funding system to the UK government’s Turing Scheme, and the proposed Scottish Education Exchange Programme has drastically altered how study exchanges and work placement activity will be funded at the University.   

The Study and Work Away Service (SWAY) has worked hard throughout this transition to reaffirm our existing exchange partnerships and has applied for funding from different sources to ensure international opportunities remain. 

Turing Scheme  

The Turing Scheme is the UK Government’s programme to provide funding for international opportunities in education and training worldwide. In 2023, around £67 million of Turing funding has been made available to the national Higher Education Sector; the University secured £1,282,308, which constitutes 23% of the amount we bid for and less than 40% of our last combined Erasmus+ award.  

This shortfall was anticipated, but as a result we will prioritise funding for students following degree programmes which contain mandatory periods of study and work abroad and those who meet the Turing Scheme’s widening access criteria.    

The University has agreed to underwrite financial support to all students required to undertake work and study abroad as a mandatory requirement of their undergraduate degree during the 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years. This support applies to students with a built-in, credit-bearing international study/work placement for which there is no UK alternative.  

Due to the reduction in overall funding available through the Turing Scheme, we do not anticipate being able to provide Turing or other funding to students who have been allocated a non-mandatory exchange or placement in 2023/24. 

The University of Edinburgh Development Trust  

SWAY has secured £236,950 from the Development Trust to support virtual, blended, and short-term international experiences for our students for the coming year, focusing on widening participation and those from under-represented groups.   

The Development Trust is a registered charity that receives, administers, and applies funds and properties donated to benefit of the University.  

This funding will support students to co-create their own short-term international experience and enable us to create mobility opportunities for students to engage with European strategic partners and alliances.  

Students will be able to participate in a range of programmes such as NICE (Network for Intercultural Competence to facilitate Entrepreneurship), the INCiTE programme, the Principal’s Go Abroad Challenge, and student mobility for short-term international programmes with Una Europa.  

Opportunities may include:  

  • Volunteering  

  • Internships or traineeships  

  • Conference attendance  

  • Cultural activities  

  • Research related activities  

Santander funding   

We received £20,000 from Santander to support Widening Participation students to undertake study or work abroad in summer 2023 via the Go Abroad Fund.  This funding enabled 24 students to embark upon research trips, summer schools, conferences, volunteering, and cultural visits in Europe and beyond.     

Scottish Education Exchange Programme  

The Scottish Government is currently engaging with the education sector to scope out a range of options for a bespoke Scottish Education Exchange Programme (SEEP), which it proposes to pilot in 2024, to address gaps created by the UK’s departure from the Erasmus programme.    

It is proposed that the scheme be two-way, open to the EU and beyond, be delivered with a long-term funding commitment at least as ambitious as the Welsh Taith scheme, and with clear links to the Scottish Government's International Education Strategy. It is also recommended that the programme should include funding to support inbound mobility, staff mobility and strategic partnerships. It should align with the Erasmus and Turing Schemes as far as possible, without duplication.  

Staff mobility  

Due to the UK's departure from the EU, we no longer have access to Erasmus+ funding to support international staff mobility. There is currently no alternative central source of funding available to support training and development opportunities abroad. Funding to support such activities should instead be sought from your College/School/Professional Service budget.  

Keep up to date with SWAY news  

SWAY continues to work on finding and creating new international opportunities for students and staff. Subscribe to our news alert to be notified by email if alternative funding to support staff opportunities is made available in the future.  

Sign up for Edinburgh Global news