Tempus is the European Union’s programme which supports the modernisation of higher education in the Partner Countries of Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Western Balkans and the Mediterranean region, mainly through university cooperation projects.

In addition to promoting cooperation between institutions, Tempus also promotes a people-to-people approach.Tempus provides support to consortia of institutions composed mainly of universities or university associations. Non-academic partners can also be part of a consortium.

The Commission considers higher education as an important priority for its cooperation activities with the neighbouring countries and the countries within its wider vicinity. The Tempus programme, which is the longest-standing EU programme in this sector and which has a strong focus on cooperation between higher education institutions, has entered a new phase running from 2007 to 2013. Since its inception in 1990, university cooperation under the Tempus programme has contributed successfully to institution building in higher education in the Partner Countries and to sustainable university partnerships, as well as to enhancing mutual understanding between the academic worlds of the European Union and the Partner Countries.

See alsoHistory of the Tempus programme – main milestones

The overall objective of Tempus is to contribute to the creation of an area of cooperation in the field of higher education between the European Union and the Tempus Partner Countries.

The specific objectives of Tempus are as follows:
To promote the reform and modernisation of higher education in the Partner Countries;
To enhance the quality and relevance of higher education to the world of work and society in the Partner Countries;
To increase the capacity of higher education institutions in the Partner Countries and the EU, in particular their capacity to cooperate internationally and to continually modernise;
To assist them in opening up to the world of work and the society at large in order to:
-overcome inter-country fragmentation in the area of higher education and inter-institutional fragmentation in the countries themselves;
-enhance inter-disciplinary thinking and working within and between faculties and universitiesarity and trans-disciplinarity between university faculties;
-enhance the employability of university graduates;
- make the European Higher Education Area more visible and attractive to the world;
To foster the reciprocal development of human resources;
To enhance mutual understanding between the peoples and cultures of the EU and the Partner Countries.

Sources of Funding

The programme is funded on an annual basis by the following financial instruments:
Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance - IPA (for proposals involving Tempus Partner Countries in the Western Balkans). The IPA is the European Union's financial instrument for the pre-accession process. Assistance is provided on the basis of the European Partnerships of the potential candidate countries and the Accession Partnerships of the candidate countries, namely the Western Balkans and Turkey. The IPA is a flexible instrument and provides assistance which is linked to the progress made by the beneficiary countries and their needs, as shown in the Commission's evaluations and annual strategy papers.
European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument - ENPI (for proposals involving Tempus Partner Countries in the Southern and Eastern EU neighbouring area). The ENPI provides financial support for the European Neighbourhood Policy and ENP countries plus Russia. The main objective of the ENP is the mutual interest of the EU and its neighbours in promoting reform, the rule of law, stable democracies and prosperity – prosperity, security and stability - throughout the neighbourhood of the enlarged European Union. The ENPI is a “policy driven” instrument that operates in the framework of the existing bilateral agreements between the European Union and the neighbouring countries.
Development Cooperation Instrument (for proposals involving Tempus Partner Countries in Central Asia). Under this instrument, the European Union finances measures aimed at supporting geographic cooperation with the developing countries included in the list of aid recipients of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD/DAC). Its aim is to improve development cooperation whose objectives are poverty reduction, sustainable economic and social development and the smooth and gradual integration of developing countries into the world economy.

More about Tempus...

The Tempus programme came to an end on 31/12/2013. The on-going projects (including those which were selected in 2013 under the 6th Call) will continue their activities until the end of their grant agreement. As of 1 January 2014, Tempus-like activities, namely capacity building activities, have become part of a new cooperation programme called Erasmus+. These activities involve existing Tempus countries, in addition to countries from Latin America, Asia and African, Carribean and the Pacific. Erasmus+ is the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport. It brings together all the current EU and international activities for education, training, youth and sport (including Tempus), replacing all existing programmes with one, to increase efficiency, make it easier to apply for grants, as well as reduce duplication and fragmentation.

More about Erasmus+...

Source: EACEA - Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency