29 June 2020

Twinning collaborations through Erasmus+

The E-ROAD will start twinning collaborations with the OAD sister offices in Armenia, Colombia, Ethiopia and Nigeria with an Erasmus+ grant. The grant will enable staff and students to go abroad for professional development training and to foster capacity building in the involved institutes.

The EU's Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility programme has awarded 30 mobility grants (close to 100 000 EUR in total) for collaboration between the E-ROAD and the Regional Offices of Astronomy for Development (ROADs) in the Andean region, East Africa, West Africa and South-West Central Asia. The grants will strengthen the existing partnerships between Leiden University in the Netherlands and the host countries of these ROADs. The collaboration with the West African office in Nigeria will also include experts in International Development from the Leiden University College.

The grants will enable students and lecturers from each partner country to come to Leiden and vice versa. Astronomers from the Leiden Observatory want to strengthen their ties with their peers in the four partner countries by sharing their expertise in research, management and transferable skills in a one-week training. This collaboration will enhance the research capacity in the partner countries and offer Leiden access to the network of European astronomy institutes across the world. Young researchers and students from the partner institutes will have the chance to gain research experience abroad.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some plans will have to be postponed. Jesca Zweijtzer, Student and Educational Affairs Leiden University says: ‘The money has been awarded for three years, which should provide enough time for these mobility projects to come to fruition once the travel restrictions have been lifted.’

Involved institutes:

Armenia: 6 mobilities awarded

  • Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory
  • Yerevan State University

Colombia: 8 mobilities awarded

  • Universidad Nacional de Colombia
  • Universidad de Antioquia
  • Universidad ECCI

Ethiopia: 7 mobilities awarded

  • Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute

Nigeria: 9 mobilities awarded

  • NASRDA-Center for Basic Space Science and Astronomy
  • University of Jos
  • Bayero University Kano
  • Development Resource and Partners Centre, Abuja
  • University of Nigeria, Nsukka