Project dates

October 2013 – March 2016
Grant: €316,205.69

Project partners

  • FH Joanneum, Austria
  • World University Service (WUS), Austria
  • University of Alicante, Spain
  • Aston University, UK
  • University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), China
  • Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH), India
  • Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), Mexico
  • Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia
  • Voronezh State University, Russia
Exterior view of Aston University

Student taking notes in classroom

Project outline and objectives

Funded by the European Commission, the project focuses on promoting European initiatives to partner universities outside Europe, with the main aim of providing common grounds for academic co-operation and supporting international collaboration and exchange.

Regional UNIQUE centres have been set up by the 5 non-European partners in China, India, Mexico, Namibia and Russia to promote and raise the visibility of the European Higher Education Area and the European quality assurance procedures in the target countries. These UNIQUE centres serve to support the non-EU partner universities’ International Offices and Quality Assurance departments as well as providing an outreach to universities in their local regions to facilitate internationalisation.


During the project, Aston University

  • Led on the Knowledge Pool document which reviewed the development and current trends of Quality Assurance practices in Europe;
  • Mentored BIMTECH, India through their set up of their UNIQUE centre;
  • Shared best practice discussions with BIMTECH over 2 days in June 2015;
  • Co-delivered a dissemination session on the BIMTECH campus on ‘Internationalisation of Higher Education and Quality Assurance’ in partnership with the Education Promotion Society for India (EPSI), which was attended by 56 academics and university leaders.
Group of students discussing notes

Staff members viewing notes on a display screen

The main objectives within the UNIQUE project

  • Promoting the idea of international collaboration and exchange;
  • Promoting quality in higher education in the beneficiary countries’ in order to be directly comparable with European standards and support the university management in its introduction or adaptation;
  • Defining, collecting and analysing key performance indicators (KPI) which are comparable to those from European universities;
  • Counselling the home university concerning recognition of European courses, grades and admission of incoming European students;
  • Counselling international offices and outgoing students in selecting high quality European institutions for their studies;
  • Screen the European higher education area for new developments.