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Policy Experimentation - Micro-credentials
Erasmus+ - Key Action 3 – Support to Policy Development and Cooperation
Estimated EU contribution per project
max. € 1,000,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission
The objective of Topic 5 is to support reforms and policy impact in Member States and/or third countries associated to the Programme in the implementation of the Council Recommendation of 16 June 2022 on a European approach to micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability.
Micro-credentials are the record of the learning outcomes that a learner has acquired following a small volume of learning. Micro-credentials make it possible for individuals to acquire knowledge, skills and competences in a flexible and targeted way. They can be instrumental in upskilling and reskilling of learners, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, so that they can adapt to a fast-changing labour market. Micro-credentials do not replace, however, traditional qualifications. The above-mentioned Council Recommendation sets out three building blocks: 1) a common definition for micro-credentials, 2) standard elements for consistent description of micro- credentials, and 3) principles for design, issuance and use of micro- credentials.
Proposals submitted under this topic must address one of the following priorities:
- Priority 11: Micro-credentials eco-systems
- Priority 12: Micro-credentials for the digital and green transitions
Expected effects and impacts
Priority 11 and Priority 12:
- Improved knowledge and evidence base in the field of design, implementation, relevance, quality, recognition and portability of micro-credentials, together with information on potentially systemic changes needed in the micro-credential ecosystem at different levels in different national setups;
- Demonstrated European added value by identifying and sharing good practices and lessons on how to incorporate micro-credentials in the national qualifications frameworks and in education and labour market policies;
- Ensured transferability of conclusions by testing the implementation in different national contexts;
- Ensured scalability by involving a wide range of actors making part of the micro-credentials eco-systems.
Priority 11: Micro-credentials eco-systems and Priority 12: Micro-credentials for the digital and green transitions
Activities of the project are, for example, meetings, consultations (online or physical), surveys, focus group discussions, activities related to the implementation of the piloting changes, including training sessions for staff and learners involved in testing the proposed solutions, design, issuance/publication and implementation of the actual micro-credentials and the courses leading to them, drafting of the strategies/recommendations/guidance documents, as well as dissemination activities.
To ensure the visibility of the selected projects, the activities shall include a communication and dissemination plan, which includes but is not limited to:
- Disseminating information about the call and project, its objectives and its results through reach-out activities addressed to the wider public;
- Organising a final event and delivering sustainable online dissemination materials targeting a wide range of providers of micro-credentials and other actors of the micro-credentials eco-system and presenting lessons learned from the activities conducted during the piloting phase, with key proposals towards the design, implementation, relevance, quality, recognition and portability of micro-credentials.
Priority 11: Micro-credentials eco-systems
The objective of Priority 11 is to support the stakeholders in their work to design systemic changes leading to:
- Defining the micro-credentials’ framework and purpose in the national set-up, including in relation to the national qualifications framework (where appropriate);
- Incorporating micro-credentials issued by higher education institutions, VET institutions and other formal and non-formal providers in relevant quality assurance mechanisms;
- Facilitating understanding and recognition of micro-credentials issued by various actors and their portability between education systems and in the labour market, as well as promoting increased awareness on the meaning and value of micro-credentials;
- Making the provision of micro-credentials relevant and targeted.
Beneficiaries need to explore methods of design and issuance of micro-credentials, based on evidence, relevant to the needs of the specific target groups.
Beneficiaries may want to screen existing micro-credentials, try to identify shortcomings and suggest optimal and concrete solutions, along the lines of the above-mentioned Council Recommendation and aiming at practices as much as possible insynergy with practices developed in other Member States.
Main activities under this priority could involve (non-exhaustive list):
- Examine the three building blocks as laid down in the above-mentioned Council Recommendation and explore avenues to incorporate the micro-credential concept fully in the national education/training system and national qualifications framework. If no strategy exists, draft a strategy and deliver specific recommendations for the public authorities at national/regional/local level as well as guidance for providers of micro-credentials;
- Explore changes needed in existing quality assurance mechanisms to incorporate micro-credentials. Prepare a roadmap for piloting such changes. Select bodies responsible for quality assurance, including for Higher Education, VET, adult learning, including related to providers from outside the formal system, that could test relevant quality assurance mechanisms. Deliver recommendations, based on the project findings, to ensure quality assurance culture in line with Annex II to the Council Recommendation on a European approach to micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability;
- Map current recognition practices of micro-credentials delivered by higher education institutions, VET institutions, and/or other formal and non-formal providers. Explore changes needed in existing tools and/or rules. Prepare a roadmap for piloting such changes. Select providers and competent authorities that could test them for academic, training or employment purposes. Deliver recommendations, based on the project findings, to facilitate transparent recognition procedures for micro-credentials issued by different types of providers, including recognition of prior learning (RPL) and the validation of non-formal and informal learning (VNFIL), in line with Annex II to Council Recommendation on a European approach to micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability;
- Explore transferability and scalability of existing portability solutions, including ongoing pilot projects (such as digital portfolios, e-backpacks, applications confirming various types of skills - including those acquired outside formal education). Prepare a roadmap for piloting such portability solutions. Select providers that could implement it. Deliver specific recommendations, based on the project findings, regarding necessary changes at national level and guidance for providers of micro-credentials, to ensure that micro-credentials are portable in line with Annex II of the Council Recommendation on a European approach to micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability;
- Explore how micro-credentials are currently used to develop relevant skills as well as to promote employability, e.g. considering strengthening cooperation between education and training institutions with employers, public employment services and social partners. Explore changes needed in existing initiatives. Prepare a roadmap for piloting such changes. Select providers and competent authorities that could test it. Deliver specific examples and recommendations on how to exploit micro-credentials’ potential for relevant education and training, upskilling and reskilling for the labour market, based on the project findings.
Priority 12: Micro-credentials for the digital and green transitions
Actions should be in line with the characteristics of micro-credentials as set out in the above-mentioned Council Recommendation and experimentation should focus in particular on learning pathways, diversity of learning settings, and designing relevant micro-credentials to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the digital and green transitions. The outcomes of the conducted project need to be implemented in the national/regional systems that are part of the project, with the potential to be transferred also to other systems.
Main activities under this priority could involve (non-exhaustive list):
- Examining and analysing actual and future needs of the economy and society at large with regard to equipping young people and lifelong learners with future proof skills needed to comply with the requirements of the green and digital transitions. This analysis should be based on skills intelligence tools, skills assessment tools and other solid evidence;
- Exploring the needs and ultimate interests of specific groups that need training, up- or reskilling;
- Mapping how courses leading to micro-credentials could serve the above needs;
- Designing and implementing relevant innovative, targeted and accessible courses leading to micro-credentials, based on the results of the prior mapping, offered to any learner, including for reskilling and upskilling purposes;
- These learner-centred courses leading to micro-credentials may be:
- courses offered to students, staff and other learners at formal education and training institutions or by non-formal providers;
- courses offered to upskill and reskill people for skills and jobs that are in demand on the labour market, including in the context of the digital and green transitions;
- courses offered to workers and jobseekers to address skills mismatches and bottlenecks in given economic sectors and regions;
- stand alone or designed as modules.
- In higher education, they could be delivered at short-cycle, Bachelor, Master or Doctoral level (EQF 5 to 8) and address skills and competences at basic, advanced or specialist level.
- Engaging companies that suffer from labour and skills shortages to cooperate with formal education and training organisations in designing ad-hoc micro- credentials that generate potential employment within the engaged companies.
- Targeted outreach activities, including communication materials.
Regions / countries for funding
Island (Ísland), Liechtenstein, North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Türkiye
Education and training institution, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
Proposals must be submitted by a consortium of at least 3 applicants (beneficiaries, not affiliated entities), from a minimum of 3 EU Member States or third countries associated to the Programme.
Affiliated entities and associated partners do not count towards the minimum eligibility criteria for the consortium composition, and can not be coordinator.
Organisations from third countries not associated to the Programme can be involved as associated partners (not as beneficiaries and affiliated entities).
In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:
- be legal entities (public or private bodies) active in the fields of education and training, research and innovation or in the world of work;
- Under topic 5 ‘Micro-credentials’, in order to be eligible, each project must include at least one public authority at national, regional, and/or local level as applicants (beneficiaries, not affiliated entities);
- be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.: Erasmus+ Programme Countries:
- EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
- non-EU countries: − listed EEA countries and countries associated to the Erasmus+ Programme (list of participating countries)
- for higher education institutions (HEIs) established in Erasmus+ Programme Countries (see above): be holders of the ECHE certificate (Erasmus Charter for Higher Education).
other eligibility criteria
- Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of self- employed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person).
- International organisations are NOT eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.
- Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.
- Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).
- Beneficiaries from countries with ongoing negotiations (see list above) may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).
- UK applicants — The participation in the Programme has been requested by the United Kingdom. If there is an agreement on this participation, UK entities will be eligible to participate in this call (in accordance with the conditions of the agreement).
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
between 24 and 36 months
Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System (accessible via the Topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section. Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals (including annexes and supporting documents) must be submitted using the forms provided inside the Submission System ( NOT the documents available on the Topic page — they are only for information).
Proposals must be complete and contain all the requested information and all required annexes and supporting documents:
- Application Form Part A — contains administrative information about the participants (future coordinator, beneficiaries and affiliated entities) and the summarised budget for the project (to be filled in directly online);
- Application Form Part B — contains the technical description of the project (to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded));
- Mandatory annexes and supporting documents (templates available to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed, assembled and re- uploaded):
- Detailed budget table/calculator
Proposals are limited to maximum 70 pages (Part B).
The grant will be a lump-sum grant. This means that it will reimburse a fixed amount, based on a lump sum or financing not linked to costs.