Capacity Building in Higher Education

What is a Capacity Building project?

Capacity-building projects in the field of higher education are transnational cooperation projects, based on multilateral partnerships, primarily between higher education institutions from Programme and eligible Partner Countries. They can also involve non-academic partners to strengthen the links with society and business and to reinforce the systemic impact of the projects.

The projects aim to encourage cooperation between the EU and Partner Countries and support eligible Partner Countries in addressing challenges in the management and governance of their higher education institutions. This includes improving the quality of higher education, developing new and innovative education programmes, modernising higher education systems through reform policies as well as fostering cooperation across different regions of the world through joint initiatives.

There are 2 types of capacity-building projects:

  • Joint projects: aimed at organisations to help improve curriculums, governance, and the strengthening of relations between higher education systems.
  • Structural projects: aimed at promoting reforms in higher education systems, modernising policies, governance and strengthening relations between higher education systems and the wider economic and social environment.

Capacity-building projects can be:

  • National projects involving institutions from only one eligible Partner Country
  • Multi-country projects within one single region, involving at least two countries from this region
  • Multi-country projects involving more than one region and involving at least one country from each region concerned

Examples of activities are listed in the Erasmus + Programme Guide

Depending on the countries involved in the project, national, regional or cross cutting priorities may be defined for both categories of projects (Joint Projects and Structural Projects). Should this be the case, projects will have to demonstrate how and to which extent they address these priorities.
Proposals not respecting the national and/or regional priorities will not be considered for funding. Cross-cutting priorities will be considered at selection stage for deciding between proposals of similar quality.


Programme countries: the 28 EU member states and some non-EU countries: former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey and Serbia.

Partner Countries:

  • Region 1: Western Balkans
  • Region 2: Eastern Partnership Countries
  • Region 3: South-Mediterranean Countries
  • Region 4: Russian Federation
  • Region 6: Asia
  • Region 7: Central Asia
  • Region 8: Latin America
  • Region 9: Iran, Iraq, Yemen
  • Region 10: South Africa
  • Region 11: ACP

Number and profile of participating organisations as well as conditions for the UK and Serbia are specified in the Programme Guide.


The minimum EU grant is 500 000 €, the maximum EU grant is 1 000 000 €.

Eligible costs are:

  • Staff costs: unit cost, depending on category of staff and country concerned (max. 40 % of the total grant)
  • Travel costs: based on the travel distance per participant
  • Costs of stay: unit cost
  • Equipment: real cost, only for Partner Countries (max. 30 % of the total grant)
  • Subcontracting: real cost (max. 10 % of the total grant)
  • Exceptional costs: expensive travel costs for participants, if standard funding does not cover at least 65 % of the travel cost of participants

The principle of co-funding has been taken into account in the definition of the funding approach and in particular in defining the level of the contribution to unit costs used to calculate the budget/grant of the project. As a result, the applicants and beneficiaries will need to indicate the details of the co-funding made available for information and transparency purposes. Proof of expenditure or supporting documents will not be required.


Applicants have to submit their online grant application by 5 February 2020 at 12:00 (midday Brussels time) for projects starting on 15 November of the same year or 15 January of the following year.

More information

You can consult the EACEA website  for more information on the programme. The 2020 call for CBHE is also available on the funding page

Contact person at Ghent University: and