Erasmus +


Erasmus+ (called Erasmus plus) is the EU funding programme for education, training, youth and sport. The current programme runs from 2014 to 2020. It combines previous funding programmes in the sector including the Lifelong Learning Programme (Comenius, Leonardo, Erasmus, Grundtvig and Transversal Programmes), Youth in Action, Jean Monnet, Tempus and Erasmus Mundus.

The previous programmes have now closed and no further applications under those programmes can be accepted. Existing projects funded by those programmes will wind down over the next 1 - 3 years.

Erasmus+ provides opportunities for participants who include students and education staff, to study, train, get work experience and volunteer abroad. In addition to providing grants for individuals, Erasmus+ supports transnational partnerships among education, training and youth institutions and organisations. It also supports national efforts to modernise education, training and youth systems. For the first time it will provide support to sport initiatives.

The main aims of Erasmus+ are to:

  • Help young people to acquire additional skills through studying and training abroad
  • Enhance teaching quality in the EU and beyond
  • Support member states and partner countries in modernising their education and vocational training systems
  • Promote youth participation in society
  • Support teaching and research on European integration
  • Support European grass-roots sport

Brexit and Erasmus+

From 1 January 2021, the UK has decided not to participate in the Erasmus programme. Irish students and staff must pursue their Erasmus mobilities within the remaining EU Member states.

The government will introduce a scheme to allow eligible students in higher education institutions in Northern Ireland to participate in Erasmus+ on the basis of temporary registration in Irish higher institutions. If you are a student from Northern Ireland currently on an Erasmus mobility you will continue to be funded by the British Council until your 2020 mobility is completed. You should stay in contact with the Erasmus desk of your university or college about your Erasmus.

COVID-19 and Erasmus+

Mandatory hotel quarantining has been introduced for travellers arriving into Ireland from 'designated high-risk countries' to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

If you are an Erasmus + student due to come back to Ireland from a country on the ‘designated country’ list, you should contact your home institution (the college you are attending in Ireland). The home institution can book your place in the quarantine hotel. You will not be charged for your hotel stay.

Projects funded

Erasmus+ provides support to initiatives that meet the criteria of any one of the following five actions:

  • Key Action 1: Learning mobility of individuals
  • Key Action 2: Co-operation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
  • Key Action 3: Support for policy reform
  • Jean Monnet activities
  • Sport

Key Action 1: Learning mobility of individuals

Projects funded under this key action enable participants to travel to another participating country in order to study, work, teach, train or develop professional skills and competences. Under Erasmus+ mobility activities are project-based and will need to be led by organisations. Individuals are no longer able to apply.

Activities funded under this key action include, youth exchanges, European Voluntary Service, a period of study or work placement for students in higher education or vocational education and training.

Youth exchanges allow groups of young people from different countries to meet and live together for up to 21 days. During a youth exchange, participants jointly carry out a work programme designed and prepared by them before the exchange.

The European Voluntary Service allows young people aged 17 - 30 to express their personal commitment through unpaid and full-time voluntary service for up to 12 months in another country within or outside the European Union.

Key Action 2: Co-operation for innovation and the exchange of good practices.

Initiatives supported under this key action enable organisations to work together in order to improve their provision for learners and share innovative practices.

Under this action, one organisation will lead the project and manage the activities and funding on behalf of the partnership. Different sizes of partnership are possible so that smaller organisations can get involved.

Key Action 3: Support for policy reform

This key action supports initiatives which enable the active participation of young people in democratic life and fosters debate around topics centred on the themes and priorities set by the Structured Dialogue. Structured Dialogue is the name used for discussions between young people and youth policy makers to get results which are useful for policy-making.

More information about Structured Dialogue is available on the European Commission's website.

Jean Monnet activities

Jean Monnet activities support worldwide excellence in European integration studies. This is a centralised action run by the European Commission’s Executive Agency.

They provide support and funding to academic institutions and other associations active in the field of European integration studies to promote excellence in European integration studies in higher education.


Funding for certain sporting activities is available under the sport action. This is a centralised action run by the European Commission’s Executive Agency.

Support will be provided to organisations active in the field of sport to tackle cross-border threats to the integrity of sport (doping, match-fixing, violence, intolerance, discrimination), promote good governance in grassroots sport, support dual careers for athletes and provide equal access to sport for all.

How to apply

Organisations can submit applications online from the end of January to the national agency responsible for the Erasmus+ programme - see ‘Where to apply’ below. There are closing dates for applications.

Individuals cannot apply directly for grants.

More information about developing projects and accessing funding under the 5 activities covered by Erasmus+ is available in the Erasmus+ Programme Guide (pdf).

Where to apply

If an organisation wishes to apply for a project involving higher education it should apply to the Higher Education Authority.

If an organisation wishes to apply for a project relating to Sport it should apply to the Commission’s Executive Agency.

For all other projects, organisations should apply to Léargas.

Page edited: 26 April 2021