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CG signs agreement on the student exchange scheme “Science without Borders”

11 April 2013

On 4 November 2011 Dorothy Kelly, the Executive Board Chair, signed the agreement on the student exchange scheme “Science without Borders” with the Brazilian ministerial agency, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and the CoimBrazil group, the Association Coimbra Group of Brazilian University Rectors. The Coimbra Group Rectors and Representatives have been informed as have the international offices at Coimbra Group Universities.

The programme is based on CG Universities offering a number of places to Brazilian students who will be funded by the “Science without Borders” programme. The selection of students will be carried out by a joint Coimbra Group-CoimBrazil-CNPq committee, once students have secured at least a provisional offer of a place by the host university and approval from their home university.

The CG is currently involved in discussions with the CoimBrazil group and the CNPq to finalize the details of the selection process, but for Brazilian students coming to Europe it will involve at least the following:

  • a call for applications issued jointly by the three signatories of the agreement in Brazil, based on the places on offer at Coimbra Group universities,
  • a period for students to obtain at least pre-admission to a place from the host university plus approval from their home university, and for applications to be filed (on-line) in CNPq,
  • a pre-selection screening by CNPq, and
  • final selection for funding by the joint committee.

The students under this scheme are Brazilian bachelor level students and doctoral candidates. There are no provisions for Brazilian master level students in the scheme. It is important to underline that this joint committee will carry out the selection for funding only and that responsibility for the offer of a place at the host CG university will always lie entirely with the university and the department involved.

For Europe to Brazil student mobility, a similar joint process will be put in place and administered by the University of Coimbra, but in this case with no funding from Brazil, i.e. mobility is funded by the students themselves or their home universities.

Participation at national or bilateral institutional level is completely compatible with participation under this Coimbra Group scheme. CG Universities are of course entirely free to choose whether they prefer bilateral participation, participation in a national scheme, in this Coimbra Group scheme, or in any combination of these.

The Coimbra Group has negotiated other elements which were not originally contemplated in the “Science without Borders” scheme, such as bench fees per student-annum for receiving universities (a maximum €2,500, paid directly to the host university) or co-tutelle provision for temporary “sandwich” doctoral mobility, this at the request of several member universities in order to ensure greater return for the investment of resources in incoming temporary doctoral mobility.

The CG Universities are currently preparing their feedback on the number of students they will be interested in receiving, and it is the hope of the Executive Board Chair that all practical issues will be settled at the end of this month to enable the exchanges to start in the academic year 2012.

The Portuguese version of the agreement and an English translation are both available under “News” on the CG web site.

Agreement (Portuguese official version)

Unofficial English translation

CG Position Paper on the European Commission’s Green Paper “From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding”

On 19 May 2011 the Coimbra Group Position Paper on the European Commission’s Green Paper, “From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding” was submitted to the Commission. The Position Paper was prepared by an expert group, chaired by Prof. A. Manthos, and the DSR TF Chair, Prof. Johnny Laursen, and DSR TF member, Prof. Maria Cunha participated together with the Culture, Arts and Humanities Task Force Chair, Prof. Jürgen Barkhoff. The Executive Board discussed the paper on 4 May and decided to forward the document to the Rectors’ Advisory Group and the members of the DSR TF for comments.

The Coimbra Group concludes that “it has been a source of considerable concern to the Coimbra Group that the complexity of innovation is underestimated and along with this the vital role and creativity of university research and their diversity of research disciplines. This has given rise to the concern that a future Common Strategic Framework might neglect the fundamental role in any innovation strategy of basic research, of the cross-feeding of ideas and knowledge through increased mobility of researchers, of the need to foster spaces for researchers to meet, exchange ideas and promote entrepreneurship.”

CG Position Paper