The Marine EnviRonment Master’s awarded the Erasmus+ Good Practice Label

This is now the fourth Erasmus Mundus postgraduate programme of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) to receive the highest recognition from the European Commission, and more are in the process of being renewed

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First publication date: 06/03/2024

Research Centre for Experimental Marine Biology & Biotechnology. | Photo: Mitxi. UPV/EHU.

The Erasmus Mundus “Marine EnviRonment" Master's has had its Good Practice Label (GPL) renewed under the new name (MER+). The European Commission grants this award to the best Erasmus Mundus postgraduate programmes and thereby ensures that its programmes have been exceptionally well managed and can be a source of inspiration to others.

This new recognition means that the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) now has four Erasmus Mundus Master's degrees with this rating: in addition to the aforementioned MER+, the following have also once again obtained the desired seal of approval: the EM. Master of Science in Marine Biological Resources (IMBRSea) (2022), the EM Master's in Renewable Energy in the Marine Environment (REM+) (2023), and the EM Master's in Smart Cities and Communities (SMACCs) (February).

To award this prestigious Good Practice Label, the European Commission takes into consideration the appraisal, the relevance of the results and alignment with the objectives, the overall quality of management and the degree of implementation, its impact and dissemination, among other criteria. To be eligible for this label of excellence, Erasmus+ projects must achieve a score of more than 75/100 from the Commission in the appraisal of the final report drawn up in accordance with these criteria.

As Ionan Marigomez, director of this international postgraduate programme, pointed out, “The overall MER+ score was 86/100, a reflection of its excellent quality with respect to the appraisal criteria, despite the fact that when it was being developed it had to address the challenges of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic in a period full of uncertainty and unexpected obstacles. So the invaluable contribution by all the members of the MER Community must be publicly acknowledged, because they made the successful realisation of this Erasmus Mundus Master’s possible.”

For her part, Montse Maritxalar, vice-director of Postgraduate Studies and Ongoing Training, maintains that “obtaining the Erasmus+ Good Practice Label for four Erasmus Mundus master's degrees reflects an international track record of excellence in the UPV/EHU's postgraduate academic offer, the recognition of our international postgraduate training is increasingly significant”.

A master's degree endorsed by a long track record

The MER+ Master’s emerged out of the preceding Erasmus Mundus Master’s in "Marine Environment and Resources" (MER EMMC 2012-2017), which had been launched in 2006 as an International Joint Master’s Programme initially recognised and funded by domestic programmes. MER+ subsequently gave rise to its successor, the Erasmus Mundus MER2030 Master’s 2021-2026. MER+ received more than 1,200 applications (across 3 years) from which 106 top students, 65 EM students and 41 self-funded students were selected to complete the programme and graduate. In addition to the student mobility pathways, the mobility of the teaching staff was fundamental with more than 60 visiting lecturers, 28 of them (from 9 EU member states, the UK, Mexico, the USA, Canada and Switzerland) beneficiaries of Erasmus Mundus grants for lecturers.

The MER+ experience has been an inspiration for the ongoing MER2030 2021-2026 programme.

The Erasmus Mundus+ programme

Promoted by the European Commission, the Erasmus Mundus programme aims to enhance the quality of higher education in Europe. Its main actions include support for joint Master's and PhD programmes selected for their relevance and outstanding academic quality, only some of which also receive funding. The University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) runs eight Erasmus Mundus master's degrees that are recognised by the European EACEA (Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency), making it one of the universities in Spain with the broadest range of Erasmus Mundus+ master's degrees on offer.