Monesia (MObility Network Europe-Southamerica: an Institutional Approach) is an active institution-based academic mobility network between Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay on the one side and Europe on the other. Monesia allows students, post-doctoral fellows and academic staff to gain valuable experience, knowledge and contacts abroad. Some Latin American students will even have the possibility to return to their home countries holding a relevant master or doctoral degree. Monesia focuses strongly on regional needs in South America and the development of specific areas such as Agriculture, Education, Teacher Training, Engineering and Technology, Medical, Natural and Social Sciences. Furthermore, Monesia provides improved education and training opportunities for vulnerable groups and socioeconomically disadvantaged students and promotes equal access to higher education for students from least developed regions.
The main results that the Monesia project is expected to achieve are:
- an institution-based sustainable Europe-Latinamerica mobility network focused on regional needs
- a pool of well-educated and responsible young men and women
- improved education and training opportunities for vulnerable groups and socioeconomically disadvantaged students
- equal access to higher education for students from least developed regions
- reinforcement of the teaching and research skills of the partner universities
- transfer of knowledge, know-how and experience between Europe and Latin-America
- promotion of Common Spaces of Higher Education
- alumni network
- synergies with partner projects
Brief description of the project:
Since the main goal of the Monesia project is to set up a mobility scheme for exchange of students and academic staff between the European Union and the three Latin American countries Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, Monesia is conceived as a multilateral network of universities that operates on two levels: a global structural and a local operative level. The global structural level concerns the policy of the consortium as a whole and the common rules and standards required for a smooth organization of the mobility flows. The local operative level concerns the implementation of the mobility flows at each partner university and is dealt with by a Local Operative Unit. The activities to be carried out at the global structural level are conferred to the Partnership Coordination Board (PCB) consisting of one representative of each partner university. For the sake of an increased and simplified operability, the Partnership Coordination Board has elected two committees among its members: The Advisory and Selection Committee (ASC) and the Quality Assurance Committee (QAS). The project coordinator (University of Granada) established a Project Management Unit (PMU) at its International Office. Together with the set of Local Operative Units it is in charge for the implementation and coordination of the project.
The partnership has put into practice a common visibility, awareness rising and promotion strategy for the project and its mobility scheme. Based on the structure of the different target groups, a twofold approach is followed: A local visibility campaign in order to increase the awareness for intra-consortium mobility flows and a nationwide campaign with a special focus on less favoured regions and social strata. The Project Management Unit pays regular personalized promotion visits to selected partner universities, embassies of participating European Countries and the EU-Delegations in Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The present website contains all the basic information about the project and its partners, an explication of the scholarship scheme, the call for applications with clear information about the entry requirements and the selection mechanism, access to newsletters, a section with frequently asked questions, etc.
An impartial and transparent selection process is one of the cornerstones of the Monesia. It works exclusively on the basis of merit and equal opportunities for all the targeted students and scholars taking into account also the cross-cutting requirements of gender-balance and real participation of socioeconomically disadvantaged people.
The International Offices at each partner university play a key role managing the incoming and outgoing mobility flows of Monesia grantees. They help and guide the incoming students and scholars, provide assistance for obtaining visa and residence permits, and give all the necessary administrative support and orientation. The Local Operative Units at the host universities assign a supervisor or contact person to each incoming student or scholar. They organize regular individual and joint meetings with the grantees that allow problems to be detected and possibly avoided at a very early stage.
The quality assurance policy as defined by the Partnership Coordination Board is entrusted to the Quality Assurance Committee for implementation and monitoring. The quality of the project is assessed on a strategic and an operative level. The strategic level refers to the achievement of the general objectives and the specific goals. The quality control on an operative level addresses the performance of the project during its life time and focuses on the detection of weak points and possibilities for improvements. A final global evaluation will be performed by an external expert provided by one of the associates.
The partnership continuously identifies international projects that target academic cooperation between Latin America and Europe (Alfa, Alban, @LIS, etc.) and invites them to become a partner project, to determine synergies and possible ways of collaboration. Mutual support benefits all the partner projects gaining not only additional visibility and dissemination channels but also increased operability and effectiveness.
Transfer of know-how and, of course, the expertise gained is enhanced through a series of workshops and seminars that are usually organized in connection with the annual Partnership Coordination Board meetings. The list of possible topics includes (a) good practices in student and staff mobility, (b) bi- and multilateral recognition of study periods and degrees, (c) quality assurance in mobility, (d) academic cooperation: joint and multiple degree programmes, etc. On request of the partners, these seminars are also included in the awareness rising campaigns.
In order to avoid brain drain, Monesia has adopted a series of measures and agreements for any type of mobility and target group. In particular, the project partners agreed to encourage long-term academic collaboration through joint research, teaching and other cooperation activities that will open up an additional window for a prosperous future for the scholars after having returned to their home institutions.