GCU receives Erasmus funding for international capacity building

24 October 2016

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) has been awarded nearly €2m from the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme to coordinate two international capacity-building projects.

GCU is leading a new cooperation initiative with six universities in South Africa to share knowledge, compare and evaluate community solutions to pressing social problems both in the UK and around the world.

This project will develop the work of GCU’s Common Good First, a digital exchange of social innovation ideas, which was launched earlier this year.

The Erasmus+ award will support Common Good First’s aim to become a community-driven global network by sharing innovative approaches to social challenges between GCU, partner institutions in South Africa, and in Spain, Norway, Iceland and Denmark.

GCU has already been working with the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and the Social Economy at the University of Johannesburg on a pilot to identify community projects in Glasgow and the Gauteng province in South Africa which could be brought to life through video, social media, the web and digital storytelling tools. 

A number of initiatives focused on youth and education were selected for the pilot, including Fear Free Life, a Johannesburg group working on crime prevention through visits to high schools in communities where gangs operate, Drumchapel’s G15 Youth Project, Soweto’s Kliptown Youth Project, and Freedom Bakery, which provides prisoners with skills that make them employable.

Led by GCU’s Director of Digital Collaboration Julie Adair, the Common Good First team has worked with the community projects to, first, promote their objectives online and then to investigate how  academic networks could input innovative approaches to social change in response to the challenges the projects are facing.

GCU also received an Erasmus+ grant to contribute to sustainable and inclusive socio-economic growth in South East Asia. Working with universities from Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Myanmar, GCU’s Director of the Europe Office Mark Anderson will lead an examination of social innovation as a means to promote social cohesion, equity, proper geographical balance and diversity. 

The development of a Southeast Asian Social Innovation Network will help to benchmark the social innovation potential of SE Asian universities through the exchange of knowledge and experience with European institutions.