Cooperation partnerships are one of the Erasmus+ project formats. They make it possible for institutions of school education, vocational training, Higher education, adult education and extracurricular youth work to cooperate with partner institutions from Europe. Knowledge and experiences are exchanged and innovative approaches to education are developed in international networks. This in turn also benefits the Swiss educational landscape.

What are the aims of Cooperation partnerships?

The institutions involved work together to develop innovative concepts, methods and instruments, and to exchange information about proven methods and tap into synergies. This contributes to quality development of offerings and helps to strengthen international networks.

Cooperation partnerships contribute to one or more transversal or sector-specific political priorities of the European Erasmus+ programme (see Erasmus+ Programme Guide, page 167ff). For example, they are working on making mobility and cooperation activities more inclusive or developing innovative learning and teaching methods in the area of entrepreneurial skills.

How long does a Cooperation partnership project last?

Projects can last between 12 and a maximum of 36 months depending on the objectives of the project and the planned activities. This applies for all areas of education as well as extracurricular youth work.

Who can take part?

Educational institutions, non-profit organisations/NGOs, clubs, public authorities or cultural institutions may take part in cooperation partnerships.

In general, cooperation partnerships aim to establish close cooperation between institutions in Erasmus+ programme countries. A cooperation partnership must include three organisations from three Erasmus+ programme countries.

Swiss institutions are excluded from project management. Institutions based in Switzerland have two possibilities to be involved in partnerships: either as a full partner, or as an associate partner. In both variants, the added value of the cooperation with the Swiss institution for the project must be clearly emphasised in the application.  See “Submit an application” in the right-hand column.

How are Swiss institutions supported financially?

Swiss institutions that are involved as full partners are financed as part of the Erasmus+ project. Swiss institutions that are involved in an Erasmus+ project as an associate partner can apply for funding from the Swiss Programme for Erasmus+. The funding is primarily issued in the form of lump-sum payments for defined budget items. For detailed information, refer to the Overview of grants.

What are the differences between the former strategic partnerships and cooperative partnerships?

In 2021, the following aspects of the cooperation partnerships are new:

  • Cooperation with institutions from third countries such as Switzerland (Erasmus+ partner countries) will be expanded. Project activities can now take place in all countries of the project participants (full and associated partners); moreover, the participation of third countries no longer represents a risk: If the condition that the participating Swiss institution brings significant added value to the project is not met, it will be excluded from the application already in the evaluation phase. The project will be evaluated accordingly and, if necessary, funded anyway.
  • Harmonisation of the funding instrument across all sectors; e.g. project duration;
  • New horizontal priorities (inclusion and diversity; environmental awareness and efforts to fight climate change; digital transformation; shared values, civic engagement and participation);
  • Greater focus on transdisciplinary cooperation and the involvement of institutions that do not yet have any experience with the instrument;
  • Additional funds to make the project more inclusive, promote environmentally friendly travel as standard and support virtual events;
  • Now, the Erasmus+ national agencies offer projects funding between EUR 100,000 and EUR 400,000 EUR (unlike up to EUR 450,000 as previously) and without a monthly limit. Applications from European NGOs are now centrally managed. To this end, cooperation partnerships have been supplemented by the “smaller partnerships” format (6–24 months and EUR 30,000 or EUR 60,000). As a non-associated, non-member country, Switzerland is not able to participate in “small-scale partnerships”.

Preparatory visits

Staff from schools or other organisations working in school education can apply for financial support to visit future partner organisations before submitting a project, to establish contacts for joint projects or to prepare projects with partners. Participation in a contact seminar or international conference for networking purposes with a view to a joint mobility or cooperation project can also receive funding. More information is available here.

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