What is CBHE?

Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE) will replace what used to be financed under Tempus, Edulink and Alfa. Capacity Building Projects between Higher Education Institutions (Higher Education Institutions) from Programme and eligible Partner Countries support the modernisation, accessibility and internationalisation of higher education sector in the Partner Countries and aim to establish cooperation between the EU and the eligible Partner Countries. This aim is pursued in the eligible Partner Countries through actions which:
– improve the quality of higher education and enhance its relevance for the labour market and society
– improve the level of competences and skills in Higher Education Institutions by developing new and innovative education programmes
– enhance the management, governance and innovation capacities of Higher Education Institutions
– increase the capacities of national authorities to modernise their higher education systems, by supporting to the definition, implementation and monitoring of reform policies
– foster regional integration and cooperation across different regions of the world through joint initiatives, sharing of good practices and cooperation.

In this way, Capacity Building projects also promote voluntary convergence with EU developments in the field of higher education. Moreover, people to people contacts help raise intercultural awareness and promote mutual understanding between the Programme and Partner Countries.

This action is centrally managed by EACEA.

Presentation about action you can find on our website under Publications section.

Who can participate in a Capacity Building project?

A participating organisation can be:
– any public or private organisation offering higher education degrees or other recognised tertiary education level qualifications (defined as Higher Education Institution and recognised as such by the competent national authority) or
– any public or private organisation active in the labour market or in the fields of education, training and youth. For example, such organisation can be:
— a public, private small medium or large enterprise (including social enterprises)
— a public body at local, regional or national level (including ministries)
— a social partner or other representative of working life, including chambers of commerce, craft/professional associations and trade unions
— a research institute
— a foundation
— a school/institute (on any level, from pre-school to upper secondary education, including vocational education and adult education)
— a non-profit organisation, association, NGO (including national or international associations or networks of Higher Education Institutions, students or teachers associations, etc.)
— an inter-company training centre
— a cultural organisation, library, museum
— a body providing career guidance, professional counselling and information services

Each participating organisation must be located in a Programme Country or in an eligible Partner Country.

Higher Education Institutions (Higher Education Institutions) located in a Programme Country must hold a valid Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE). An ECHE is not required for participating
Higher Education Institutions in eligible Partner Countries. (However for the Special Mobility Strand – Higher Education Institutions located in eligible Partner Countries must have established inter-institutional agreements with all partner Higher Education Institutions , endorsing the principles set in the ECHE).

Associations or organisations of Higher Education Institutions dedicated to the promotion, improvement and reform of higher education, as well as to co-operation within Europe and between Europe and other parts of the world, are eligible.

International governmental organisations may participate as partners in Capacity Building projects on a self-financing basis.

Can all participating organisations also apply as coordinating institution?

No, only the following types of participating organisations can apply for a grant:
– a Higher Education Institution
– an association or organisation of Higher Education Institutions
– only for Structural Projects: a legally recognized national or international rector, teacher or student organisation located in a Programme country or in an eligible Partner Country.

The coordinating organisation applies on behalf of all participating organisations involved in the project.

Can the coordinating institution be in the Partner Countries?

Yes, the coordinating institution can be legally established either in a Programme Country or in an eligible Partner Country (see list of eligible Partner Countries).

Is there a limit to the number of Capacity Building projects that an institution can participate in for each Call?

There is no limit regarding the number of times an institution can participate as partner in the selected projects. However, for each selection round, a maximum of three project proposals per applicant institution/organisation can be recommended for funding.

What are the advantages for Programme Countries in participating in Capacity Building projects?

A Capacity Building project does not serve as a ‘one-way’ transfer of expertise, but rather as a ‘twoway’ exchange of know-how, skills and practical experience between Higher Education Institutions both in Programme and eligible Partner countries. Mutual learning is an integral part of every capacity building project. Certain Higher Education Institutions are in contact with institutions on other continents and have learned much from their expertise in a certain field, where they are a centre of excellence. This knowledge and ‘know-how’ is often valuable also to European partners, who might not otherwise be exposed to it. This has allowed Programme Country institutions to develop their own centres of excellence in areas that are specific to their local context. Working with Partner Country institutions has also allowed access to sites for field-work that cannot be found in Programme Countries, which has proved very useful in fields such as archaeology, solar energy and marine biology for example.

Can all non-EU countries participate in a Capacity Building project?

No, only countries from Regions 1 (Western Balkans), 2 (Eastern Partnership countries), 3 (SouthMediterranean countries), 4 (Russian Federation), 5 (Asia), 6 (Central Asia), 7 (Latin America), 8 (Iran, 26 Iraq, Yemen), 9 (South Africa) and 10 (African, Caribbean and Pacific countries) can participate in Capacity Building projects.

Countries from Regions 11 (industrialised countries) and 12 are not eligible to apply for the Capacity Building in Higher Education strand – but they can apply for other strands.

Please consult section A “Eligible Countries” in the Erasmus+ programme guide for the complete list of countries corresponding to the different regions.

Can I propose a cross-regional cooperation project between Partner Countries in different region under the Capacity Building action?

Yes, it is possible. Regional and cross-regional cooperation should however be relevant and justified by a detailed analysis of common needs and objectives. The choice of the countries must be adequate and coherent with the objectives proposed.

What languages do projects work in?

The consortium should have a common working language. It is generally the language of the applicant. However, local/regional activities in the framework of the project might be implemented in any local language.

What is the minimum number of partner institutions in a Capacity Building project?

Capacity Building project consortia must respect the following criteria. There should be:
– At least one eligible Partner Country must be involved in the project. If the project involves more than one eligible Partner Country, these countries can be from the same region 2 or from different Partner Country regions covered by the Action.
– Minimum two Higher Education Institutions from each of the eligible Partner Countries taking part in the project.
– At least three Programme Countries, with a minimum one Higher Education Institution from each of the Programme Countries taking part in the project.
– At least as many Partner Country Higher Education Institutions as there are Programme Country Higher Education Institutions in the consortium.

In Partner Countries where the number of Higher Education Institutions is lower than 5 or in cases where one single institution represents more than 50% of the overall student population of the country, a derogation to the rule will be applied and applications counting only one Higher Education Institution for those countries will be accepted.

Where an association, organisation or network of Higher Education Institutions is involved, the requirements for the minimum number of participating organisations indicated above must be fulfilled, counting the association / organisation / network as only one partner from the country where the headquarters is based.

Which institution of the Capacity building Consortium is responsible for the overall management of the project in terms of accounting and financial responsibility?

The coordinating institution signs the contract with the EACEA, and is responsible on behalf of the consortium for the management of the grant. Please keep in mind that since Capacity building grant agreements are multibeneficiary, any change in the partnership should however be approved by the whole consortium.

For how long will selected Capacity building projects receive funding? Is it possible to receive a funding period extension?

Capacity Building Projects can last 2 or 3 years. The duration must be chosen at application stage, based on the objective of the project and on the type of activities foreseen over time.

As a general rule, no extension to the eligibility period beyond the defined duration will be granted. However, if after the signing of the agreement and the start of the project it becomes impossible for the consortium, for duly justified reasons, to complete the project within the scheduled period, an extension of the eligibility period may be exceptionally granted.

Can students participate in a Capacity Building project?

Students are the end beneficiaries of the projects. However, Capacity Building in Higher Education is an institutional programme that aims to develop of the Higher Education Institutions and systems in the eligible Partner countries. Individuals cannot apply themselves for Programme funding, only Higher Education Institutions and other bodies can apply for a Grant.

However, individuals such as students, academic staff and university administrators can participate in the framework of a project, on limited and short term mobility, but only if it achieves the project’s objectives. Additionally, a Special Mobility Strand is available for Partner countries from Regions 1, 2 and 3.

What is the Special Mobility Strand ?

In the case of Capacity Building Projects targeting the eligible Partner Countries from the Western Balkans, Eastern Partnership countries and South-Mediterranean countries (cf. Regions 1, 2 and 3 in section “Eligible Countries” of the Programme Guide), projects may include a Special Mobility Strand addressed either to students or staff from the partner Higher Education Institutions. The mobility must be instrumental to the objectives of the project (integrated mobility) and implemented through inter-institutional agreements. However, it is important to note that this component of the project may be rejected (not funded) even if the project itself is selected for funding; the non-selection of this component should not hamper the implementation of the other activities foreseen by the project. The Special Mobility Strand should be seen as an additional support provided by the EU to better achieve the aims and objectives of the project but cannot be a condition for the successful implementation of the core project objectives. The funding amount of a Special Mobility Strand within a selected project will depend on the results of the specific qualitative
evaluation of the proposal and on the budget available.

Student mobility can comprise of either a study period abroad at a partner Higher Education Institutions, or a traineeship (work placement) abroad in an enterprise or any other relevant workplace. Study periods abroad may include traineeship periods as well.

To ensure high quality mobility activities with maximum impact on the students, the mobility activity has to respond to the students’ degree-related learning and personal development needs. The study period abroad must be part of the student’s study programme to complete a degree and should last from 3 to 12 months.

Staff mobility activities may include teaching assignments allowing Higher Education Institutions teaching staff or staff from any participating organisation to teach at a partner Higher Education Institution abroad. It can also consist of a training period to support the professional development of teaching and non-teaching staff.
Interested student and staff should apply to the coordinating institution of the project. Students and
staff cannot directly apply to set up a Capacity Building project.

What is the difference between Joint Projects and Structural Projects?

Joint projects operate at micro level and target Higher Education Institutions specifically. They aim to modernise and reform Partner Country higher education systems through activities such as:
– Developing new curricula or improving existing ones
– Improving governance and management systems
– Building relations between Higher Education Institutions and relevant socio-economic actors Structural projects operate at macro level and target national higher education systems and policies.
They involve activities such as:
– Modernisation of policies, governance and management of higher education systems
– Strengthening relations between higher education systems and the wider socio-economic environment

Do Capacity-Building projects have to comply with certain priorities?

Yes. Depending on the countries, national, regional or cross cutting priorities may be defined by the EU (sometimes in cooperation with the national Ministries of education, EU Delegations and National Erasmus+ Offices where they exist) for both categories of projects (Joint Projects and Structural Measures). They are clearly mentioned in the Calls for proposal for certain countries and if a project involves these countries, project proposals will have to demonstrate how and to which extent they address these priorities. Proposals not respecting the national and/or regional priorities will not be considered for funding. These priorities are usually updated for each Call.

Which EU funding instruments are used in the financing of Capacity Building Projects?

Capacity Building projects are financed by four of the five policy-driven EU financial external cooperation instruments. Depending on the location of your country, these instruments may highlight specific policy areas. The different instruments are:

Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance – IPA. The IPA is the European Union’s financial instrument for the pre-accession process. Assistance is provided on the basis of the European Partnerships of the potential candidate countries and the Accession Partnerships of the candidate countries, namely the Western Balkans and Turkey. The IPA is a flexible instrument and provides assistance which is linked to the progress made by the beneficiary countries and their needs, as shown in the Commission’s evaluations and annual strategy papers.

European Neighbourhood Instrument – ENI. The ENI provides financial support for the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and ENP countries plus Russia. The main objective of the ENP is the
mutual interest of the EU and its neighbours in promoting reform, the rule of law, stable democracies and prosperity – prosperity, security and stability – throughout the neighbourhood of the enlarged European Union. The ENI is a “policy driven” instrument that operates in the framework of the existing bilateral agreements between the European Union and the neighbouring countries.

Development Cooperation Instrument – DCI. Under this instrument, the European Union finances measures aimed at supporting geographic cooperation with the developing countries included in the list of aid recipients of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD/DAC). Its aim is to improve development cooperation whose objectives are poverty reduction, sustainable economic and social development and the smooth and gradual integration of developing countries into the world economy.

The European Development Fund (EDF). The EDF covers cooperation with African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACPs) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs). It provides financial support in the fields of economic development, social and human development and regional cooperation and integration.

Partnership Instrument – PI. This instrument does not fund Capacity Building Projects. The Partnership Instrument is the successor of the instrument for cooperation with industrialised countries, ICI (2007-2013). Its overall objective is to advance and promote EU interests by projecting the external dimension of EU internal policies (e.g. competiveness, research and innovation, migration) abroad and to address major global challenges (e.g. energy security, climate change, environment).

The PI would allow the EU to pursue agendas beyond development cooperation with industrialised countries, emerging economies, and countries where the EU has significant interests. Concretely, the
Partnership Instrument would allow supporting a wide range of actions from climate change action to tackling intellectual property rights, from fighting human trafficking to protecting the environment, from market access to energy security.

What is the overall budget available for a Capacity-building project?

The funding range for capacity building projects is between 500,000 Euros and 1,000,000 Euros according to the partner countries area:
Partner countries: Region 1 to 9 (Regions 1 (Western Balkans), 2 (Eastern Partnership countries), 3 (South-Mediterranean countries), 4 (Russian Federation), 5 (Asia), 6 (Central Asia), 7 (Latin America), 8 (Iran, Iraq, Yemen), 9 (South Africa)
Min. amount for Joint and Structural Projects: € 500,000
Max. amount for Joint and Structural Projects : € 1,000,000

The size of the grant should be clearly consistent with the project scope and the number of Partner Country institutions involved in the partnership.

Which type of costs will be covered in a Capacity Building Project?

Capacity Building projects in Higher Education include a large variety of costs, including staff costs, travel costs and costs of stay, equipment costs, sub-contracting costs, costs for dissemination of information, publishing, translation, indirect costs, etc.

The EU grant will be calculated on the basis of the following five items:
– a contribution to the staff costs in the form of standard unit-costs.
– a contribution to the travel costs in the form of standard unit-costs.
– a contribution to the costs of stay in the form of standard unit-costs.
– an estimation of the real costs of the equipment necessary to implement the project.
– an estimation of the real costs of subcontracting necessary to implement the project.

Although the implementation of the project may require other types of expenditure, this expenditure will not be taken into account for the calculation of the grant proposed. As a result, they will have to be covered by co-funding by the institutions themselves.

How will Capacity Building projects for Higher Education be selected and what are the selection criteria?

Selection of Capacity Building Projects for Higher Education (CBHE) is carried out by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, with the support of independent external experts from the academic world. Capacity Building Projects are selected each year following an Open Call for Proposals. The first Call to include Capacity Building Projects will be launched in the autumn 2014, and the selection finalised by summer 2015.
Submitted proposals are assessed by the experts according to published award criteria . There are four main award criteria:
– Relevance of the project (30%)
– Quality of project design and implementation (30%)
– Quality of project team and cooperation arrangements (20%)
– Impact and sustainability (20%)

More details on this will be available once the new edition of the Programme Guide (including provisions on Capacity Building Projects) is released.

How to apply?

Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE)
Organisations wishing to apply for Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education projects are invited to submit applications on-line to the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency in Brussels.

First at all,

1. Read the Guidelines and the call for proposals carefully.
Please note that the core description of your CBHE project will have to be completed in the Annex 1 “Detailed description of the project”.

2. Applicants must have an EU Login (European Commission Authentication Service) account. If you already have an EULogin account, you may use this, if not, create an EULogin account. When you have created your EULogin account, return to this page.

You are now ready to start the application process:

The applicant and all partner organisations must be registered in the Participant Portal. Organisations that register in the Portal receive a Participant Identification Code (PIC) that will be requested in the electronic application form. To access the Participants’ portal, you will need your EULogin username and password.
Given that each applicant organisation should use only one PIC code, please first check with your legal representative’s office whether such a PIC number has already been created for your organisation. If this is the case, you may use this PIC code to create your electronic application form. At the application stage, PIC statutes can be either “Validated”, “Declared” or “Sleeping” but in case of double reference for one same organisation, the “Validated ” PIC should always be considered.

Create your official electronic application form, also called the eForm. Use the official application package and the correct application form for the Capacity Building in the Field of Higher Education programme action.


The eForm and its user guide are available here.

The KA2 – Capacity Building in the Field of Higher Education 2017 eForm is available under two different types of eForms, one for Joint Projects and one for Structural Projectsю

Completing your application:

1. Fill in the eForm with the required data.

2. Do not forget also to complete and attach the three mandatory attachments to the eForm. For that, please refer to the Annexes navigation tab to download the relevant templates.

3. Once you have completed the eForm and attached the annexes, validate the eForm. This triggers an automatic check that informs you if your application form is complete. If this is the case, you can submit it online.

4. When you have submitted your application online, you should receive a confirmation email and reference number. If not, contact the helpdesk.

Please DO NOT SEND A COPY of the e-form and the attached documents by post to EACEA.