Mobility for all!

New Erasmus+ project IDEM launched


Unite! wants to create a new model of a European virtual and physical campus accessible to all Unite! students. The new Erasmus+ project “IDEM – Inclusion, Diversity, Equity in Mobility”, which was officially launched in a virtual kick-off meeting on February 14, aims to enable in particular students with disabilities, refugee students and first-generation students to fully participate in all mobility programmes between Unite! partner universities. Concrete approaches will be developed for this over the next three years. The project is coordinated by the TU Darmstadt.

Students with disabilities, refuges students, and first-generation students, like many others, continue to be significantly underrepresented in traditional physical mobility Programs such as Erasmus+. When preparing to study abroad, they very often face structural limitations that make fulfilling experiences abroad much more difficult. Due to these real and anticipated discriminatory access barriers and challenges, many students do not even consider participating in mobility programs.

To this the new Erasmus+ project “IDEM – Inclusion, Diversity, Equity in Mobility” responds. Based on the experiences already gained by the Unite! Alliance, the project idea is to develop concrete solutions over the next three years that will offer as many students as possible the opportunity to fully participate in the mobility programs between the Unite! partner Universities.

During its first in-person transnational project meeting held on the Campus of Universitat Politecnica De Catalunya (30th March – April 1st), the IDEM team worked on planning the modules for its upcoming Training in Grenoble (28th – 30th June, 2022) and on defining the methodology and organization of the Pilots. IDEM will create and work on two Pilots both focusing on students experiencing discrimination by barriers in accessibility and outreach as prioritised by the new Erasmus + Programme. Aalto University and TU Darmstadt will target students with health problems and disabilities; Grenoble INP-UGA together with Universitat Politecnica De Catalunya and Universidade De Lisboa will concentrate on students experiencing among others, barriers due to cultural differences, and socio-economic barriers. The Pilots are planned to start in the summer of 2023.
“The Mobility Pilots and the project as a whole will also provide concrete assistance to other European universities to develop more flexible mobility programs that recognize individual differences and respond to specific needs”, said Benedetta Gennaro, Head of Unit International Student Services and Refugee Integration.

About the project:

The overall project is coordinated by the Technical University of Darmstadt. Partner Universities are Grenoble INP-UGA (France), Aalto University (Finland), Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (Spain) and Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal). The European University Alliance Unite! serves as the framework organization for the project. IDEM officially started for all partners with a joint virtual kick-off meeting on February 14, 2022. The funding period is 36 months and ends in January 2025.

The project foresees training for university staff on disabilities, difficulties and disadvantages among the student population and will provide tools to address their mobility needs.

Bootcamps (collaborative working sessions) are also foreseen, where debates and reflections on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in the European Higher Education System will be promoted. These three concepts are the basis for building a university community that fosters mutual respect and promotes the empowerment of all students. The Bootcamps will stimulate an open discourse to learn from each other on how to establish truly democratic living, learning and working conditions in European universities.

These trainings and discussions will also serve to design and share a toolkit to provide higher education institutions with comprehensive resources to help them identify and include the different dimensions of diversity and inclusion in the planning of university strategies.

"Within our project "IDEM", central aspects of internationalization and the promotion of diversity are intertwined, both at our as well as at the Unite! partner universities. Together, we advocate for more equal opportunities and participation in European student exchange."

Aaron Szczerba, Officer Refugee Programmes, Department VIII - International Affairs, International Student Services.


For more information and questions:

Benedetta Gennaro und Aaron Szczerba, Directorate VIII – International Affairs.

This project is part of the Erasmus+ funding.

Aaron Szczerba/mho

About Unite!

Alongside TU Darmstadt as the coordinator,Unite! (University Network for Innovation, Technology and Engineering) also includes Aalto University (Finland), KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden), Grenoble Institute of Technology (France), Politecnico di Torino (Italy), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Spain) and Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal).

The seven partner universities aim to use the European University to create a trans-European campus for students and researchers with the involvement of regions and companies. The partners have a total of 167,000 students, already cooperate closely in more than 80 EU projects and have exchanged more than 2,000 students in the past five years. The alliance has set itself the goal of combining courses for the benefit of students, breaking down existing technical and administrative hurdles, and thus significantly increasing student mobility. Research will also benefit from the conditions created for larger and easier cooperation, which will strengthen the competitiveness of the European Higher Education Area overall.