Erasmus+ grant for 13 exchange projects
Thirteen Leiden University exchange projects have been awarded an Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility grant. The total award of around 450,000 euros will enable 103 students and staff to go on an exchange.
The grants are for study, teaching and research projects. The Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility programme (ICM) facilitates collaboration with universities outside the European Union. This year’s exchange projects are with universities in Armenia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Columbia, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, China, South Africa, Indonesia, Japan, Cuba and the United States.
The main aim of the programme is to develop knowledge and skills together with partner universities. It is the perfect way to explore collaboration opportunities with new partner universities or to continue existing partnerships. It therefore ties in well with the new Strategic Plan ‘Innovating and Connecting’.
Three examples of the exchange projects:
The exchange project between Leiden Observatory and the Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI) aims to maximise the contribution astronomy can make to society. Michelle Willebrands (former coordinator): ‘This project came about after discussions with partners in Ethiopia about their needs. Students and young staff members do not always have the opportunity to go abroad when this is more or less essential to an academic career.’ Students from ESSTI are coming to Leiden to gain experience on a three-month research project and staff from ESSTI are coming here for one to two weeks to work with a researcher from Leiden Observatory. Staff from Leiden University will also go to Ethiopia to give various training sessions, for instance on project management, entrepreneurial skills and writing a good research proposal.
In the ‘Case Study Fukushima’ bachelor’s course at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA), students learn about the safety aspects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Coordinator Andrea Bartolucci: ‘As it is a Japanese disaster, I wanted to involve Japanese experts in the course. So we worked with researchers from the Institute of Environmental Radioactivity at Fukushima University. This institute was set up in 2013 to research radiation around the disaster site and the associated environmental problems.’ The ICM grant will enable these Japanese researchers to come to the Netherlands to share their knowledge. And Bartolucci and his co-coordinator Jake Wright are going to Japan to expand their network and bring researchers from other universities into the exchange programme.
In this exchange project, master’s students and PhD candidates from the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research will do six months of research at the University of California. This will be into machine learning and drug development with the aid of AI. Coordinator Willem Jespers: ‘The research in California will be done by the group of David Mobley, one of the leading researchers in our field.’ Jespers will go to California a few weeks before the exchange begins in order to develop a joint research question. ‘In Leiden we work more with AI, whereas in California they do more with molecular dynamics. We are going to try and combine the two so as to be able to predict the binding of certain molecules to proteins in the human body.’ This binding is an essential part of how medical drugs work.
Anyone interested in an Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility project (2023 Call) can register their interest with Kathelijne Smits or Jesca Zweijtzer. The International Relations Department will support and submit any applications. Read more about the options.