Erasmus+ Alliances for Innovation funding supports 17 Finnish organisations

Programmes Vocational education and training Higher education Erasmus+ Erasmus+ for vocational education Erasmus+ for higher education Internationalisation Education development
In the 2023 application round, a record 37 projects were funded at the European level. Finland's participation includes a wide range of actors: higher education institutions, vocational education and training institutions, organisations, companies, and a wellbeing services county.

The Erasmus+ Alliances for Innovation action offers funding aimed at increasing Europe's innovation potential. Central to this initiative is the strategic collaboration among higher education institutions, vocational education and training (VET) organisations, and companies.

The application round ended on 3.5.2023. In Europe, a total of 351 applications were submitted, of which 160 exceeded the required threshold.

Finnish organisations involved in ten projects  

Funding was granted to 37 projects in Europe, with Finnish participants involved in ten of them.

The numbers have increased compared to the previous application rounds in 2021 and 2022. In both years, Finland was represented in eight projects, and a total of 32 projects were funded in Europe.  

In the 2023 application round, Finnish organisations were granted a total of approximately three million euros. The total funding in Europe was 62 million euros.

The level of funding has remained stable both in Finland and at the European level.

First-time participants bring new perspectives to cooperation  

In the 2023 application round, the significance of international collaboration is realised as 17 Finnish organisations start in ten different projects. The following Finnish organisations are involved:  

Turku University of Applied Sciences Ltd., The Wellbeing Services County of Southwest Finland, Ålands Landskapsregering/Allmanna Förvaltningen, University of Oulu, University of Vaasa, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences Ltd., Neogames Finland Ry, Raisio Regional Education and Training Consortium (Raseko), Waste Management of the Southwestern Finland Ltd., Crazy Town Oy, Xamk - South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences Ltd., Federation of Finnish Textile and Clothing Industries (Finatex), Tampere University of Applied Sciences Ltd., City of Vaasa, Ael-Amiedu Ltd., Tukena Foundation, University of Helsinki

Nearly half of the organisations are participating in Alliances for Innovation projects for the first time. This demonstrates the growing interest and commitment of Finnish actors to a European innovation network.  

Two funding categories - one common goal

In the 2023 application round, funding was available for two types of projects.  

The first (Alliances for Education and Enterprises) focused on promoting cooperation between higher education, vocational training and training, and companies. These partnerships aim to foster innovation at the interface of education and working life.

Projects are two or three years long, and they can receive up to 1–1.5 million euros in funding.  

Finnish organisations performed well in the first project type: Finnish participants are involved in seven of the 32 projects funded in Europe.  

It is particularly noteworthy that two of the projects are coordinated from Finland. Turku University of Applied Sciences coordinates its second Erasmus+ Alliances for Innovation project, while Metropolia University of Applied Sciences acts as a project coordinator for this type of action for the first time.

Infographic presenting the application results for Alliances for Education and Enterprises. The total budget for Category 1 in Europe was 42.2 million euros. Finnish organisations are involved in 22 percent of all funded projects.

The second type of project funding was directed towards sectoral cooperation on skills identified in the European Skills Agenda (Alliances for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills).

These alliances aim to address skills gaps that hinder growth and competitiveness in critical industries or regions.

The duration of these projects is four years, with funding of up to four million euros available.

In the second project type, Finland's participation relative to the projects funded in Europe is significant, as Finnish organisations are involved in three of the five funded projects. 

Infographic presenting the application results for Alliances for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills. The total budget for Category 2 in Europe was 19.8 million euros. Finnish organisations are involved in 60 percent of all funded projects.

Gamebadges project: New paths to recognising skills in the gaming industry 

The "Gamebadges - Skill Mapping and Micro-credentials for the Game Industry" project funded in 2023 is coordinated by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. The project includes the Finnish gaming industry association, Neogames Finland, as a partner.
The project's total budget is almost 1.4 million euros, of which the share for Finnish organisations is 565 492 euros.
Saija Heinonen, project manager at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, shares initial reactions after the funding results were announced:
"Of course, we were delighted to learn that the Gamebadges project had been granted funding. The application process is challenging and highly competitive, so this recognition felt good. The fact that we succeeded without prior experience in Erasmus+ projects made the achievement even more rewarding."
- We have been preparing the collaboration with implementing partners since 2020, so it was wonderful to finally move from planning and uncertainty to actual implementation. For Metropolia, this project marks the first coordination of an Erasmus+ Alliances for Innovation partnership, and it aligns well with our RDI objective to increase international project activity, Heinonen states.
Elina Tyynelä, coordinator at Neogames Finland, anticipates the project's future impact on the gaming industry:
"We believe that the project will open up the gaming industry's skill needs to new talented individuals, namely students and career changers. Creating a skill badge framework will help employers in the gaming industry recognise the skill levels of these new contributors."
Heinonen explains that the three-year project is divided into phases, each containing its own work packages and responsible organisations. Metropolia leads the first year of the project.
"In the first phase, we aim to update the gaming industry skill map created in a previous ESF project. This map will serve as the basis for the skill badges. In the second phase, we move on to pilot the skill badges with partner organisations. In the final phase, the skill badge ecosystem will be launched and marketed to the target audience: professionals and educators in the gaming industry."
The complexities, but also opportunities related to developing skill badges are well recognised.
"Expanding the badge ecosystem to cover the entire European gaming sector is challenging and requires compromises," Heinonen states. "If we succeed, the professional framework we create would define job titles and skills in the gaming industry, facilitating training and recruitment."
"The gaming industry is quick to adopt new changes, which requires that skill badges be kept up-to-date and that the need for updates is anticipated," Tyynelä adds. "The project, however, offers many opportunities for deeper collaboration between companies and educational institutions, benefiting everyone from students to businesses." 

Next application possibly in 2025

The 2024 Erasmus+ Alliances for Innovation application closed on 7.3.2024. Results are expected to be published at the end of the year.

The action is managed by the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). More information about a potential future call in 2025 will be available in autumn 2024 when the call for proposals for the next year is published.

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