Jim Clarke of Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) group at Waterford Institute of Technology had a successful proposal accepted in the recent 2020 call of the ERASMUS+ programme, under key action 1 (KA1) – learning mobility of individuals, specifically KA107 – higher education student and staff mobility between programme and partner countries. ERASMUS+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. Started in 2014 and concluding in 2020, ERASMUS+ had an overall budget of €14.7 billion to provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, and gain experience abroad.
The partner country involved in the successful WIT-TSSG led project is India, which has a long-standing relationship with both the International Office at Waterford Institute of Technology and also directly with the Telecommunications Software and Systems Group. Over nearly the past decade, Clarke has coordinated a number of projects involving India, including the framework programme 7 BIC project, which ran from 2011 – 2013, Science Foundation Ireland Research Ireland India (RII) project from 2014 – 2015, and a four year project EuropeAid funded project entitled EU – India FI-Media project from 2015 – 2019; and this ERASMUS+ project builds upon the strong relationships established in these projects.
The academic partners in the ERASMUS+ project include Waterford Institute of Technology, India Institute of Technology, Delhi, Department of Management Studies, ABV-Indian Institute of information Technology and Management, Gwalior, and Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (AMRITA University, Kerala, India). There were also several supporting non-academic partners including Delegation of the European Union to India, Government of India, Ministry of Electronics and Information, Beyond Evolution Tech Solutions, Gurgaon, Centre for Development of Telematics (CDOT), and Stellaps.
The WIT led project was submitted to ERASMUS+ KEY ACTION 1, which focusses on the mobility of learners and staff, as follows: opportunities for students, trainees and young people, as well as for professors, teachers, trainers, youth workers, staff of education institutions and civil society organisations to undertake a learning and/or professional experience in another country. In particular, KEY ACTION 107 focusses on mobility for higher education students and staff to programme and partner countries. Mr. Clarke’s project focusses specifically on mobility of WIT staff members to and from India for training purposes on the formulation of joint courses and research and innovation in areas such as smart agriculture and rural development in smart villages. According to Clarke, “the planned ERASMUS+ project with India builds upon our past strong relationships and work in India over the last 10 years and is constructed to address one of the strategic goals of the Waterford Institute of Technology’s Strategic Plan 2018 – 2020, published in May, 2018. Specifically, the strategic plan’s goal number 5 is entitled ‘An international and internationalised profile that finds expression in the approach of our students and staff and in our extensive partnerships’”, Clarke said.
The funding is primarily for funding mobilities for the setting up of training workshops of 2-3 weeks duration at the partner institutions in both Ireland and in India over a period of three years (2 mobilities per annum). With the current COVID-19 restrictions, it is likely the project will fully commence in the first quarter of 2021.
Ms. Sinead Day, International Affairs Manager in WIT, commented on the success, “We are delighted with your success and wish the project well. The Office for International Relations has been actively encouraging all areas of WIT to apply for ERASMUS+ funding for student and staff mobility, as this is a key objective in internationalization, and is an area in which we have made significant progress in recent years. In addition, we are particularly delighted that this ERASMUS+ funding has been granted for this TSSG collaboration with the Partner country in India, as this is a priority international education nation for WIT and Irish Higher Education.
Clarke concluded by saying “the WIT application to ERASMUS+ was coordinated overall by the Office for International Relations in WIT and their help, encouragement and support is greatly appreciated in the submission process. I am also happy to report that in the way the ERASMUS+ programme is designed, WIT was also successful in achieving another funded project with the United States as the Partner country and this will be written up at a later date in a WIT-wide news item”, finished Clarke.
Jim Clarke (right), WIT-TSSG, with two members of the project team, Prof. MP Gupta (far left), Institute of Technology, Delhi, Department of Management Studies and Mr. Abhishek Sharma, Beyond Evolution Tech Solutions, Gurgaon
*photo taken in 2019 prior to COVID-19 pandemic