TEMPUS is the European Union’s programme which supports the modernisation of higher education in the EU’s surrounding area. It promotes institutional cooperation that involves the European Union and Partner Countries and focuses on the reform and modernisation of higher education systems in the Partner Countries. TEMPUS also aims to promote voluntary convergence of the higher education systems in the Partner Countries with EU developments in the field of higher education. It was adopted by the Council of Ministers of the European Union in 1990 and was since four times extended:

TEMPUS I – 1990-1994
TEMPUS II – 1994-1998
TEMPUS II bis – 1998-2000
TEMPUS III – 2000-2006 
TEMPUS IV – 2007-2013

TEMPUS supports projects aiming to restructure and develop curricula and teaching materials, upgrade teaching facilities, and/or improve university administration in higher education institutions. TEMPUS does this by providing financial grants for co-operation projects between higher education establishments in the EU and the Partner Countries in priority areas which are defined by the respective Partner Countries and the European Commission and which are in line with the overall socio-economic reform process of these countries.

Partner Countries of TEMPUS  

  • Eastern Europe: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Moldova, Russian Federation, Ukraine
  • Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
  • Western Balkans: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo (under UNSC Resolution 1244/99)
  • Mediterranean countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisia and Libya.

Priority themes under Tempus are defined around the main components of the EU’s higher education modernisation agenda and are therefore structured in the following three building blocks:

Curricular Reform

Modernisation of curricula in academic disciplines identified as priorities by the Partner Countries, using the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), the three cycle system and the recognition of degrees.

Governance Reform

  • University management and services for students
  • Introduction of quality assurance
  • Institutional and financial autonomy and accountability
  • Equal and transparent access to higher education
  • Development of international relations

Higher Education and Society

  • Training of non-university teachers
  • Development of partnerships with enterprises
  • Knowledge triangle education-research-innovation
  • Training courses for public services (ministries, regional/local authorities)
  • Development of lifelong learning in society at large
  • Qualifications frameworks

TEMPUS encourages institutions in the EU Member States and the Partner Countries to engage in structured cooperation through the establishment of “consortia”. The “consortia” implement Joint Projects and Structural Measures with a clear set of objectives:


Joint Projects are implemented at institutional level. Joint Projects are based on multilateral partnerships between higher education institutions in the EU and the Partner Countries. They promote the exchange of knowledge and know-how between EU universities and institutions in the Partner Countries and between Partner Country institutions themselves in various cases. Joint Projects are implemented by the institutions themselves. Relevant themes for Joint Projects include curriculum development, enhancing university governance and creating better links between higher education and society at large. Two categories of Joint Projects may be supported:

“National Projects” should be of benefit to the Partner Country and focus on national priorities set by the Ministry of Education for that Partner Country.

“Multi-Country Projects” aim to be of benefit to more than one Partner Country. They focus on addressing regional priorities which are common to all the Partner Countries within a specific region. They can also address a ‘national priority’ which is common to each of the participating Partner Countries.

National and regional priorities for Joint Projects are defined in the Calls for Proposal.

Multi-Country Projects may involve Partner Countries from different regions, provided that the theme of the proposal is identified as a regional or national priority for all of the participating Partner Countries. In principle, the maximum possible duration of Joint Projects is 36 months.


Structural Measures seek to contribute to the development and reform of education institutions and systems at national level in the Partner Countries. They can address issues linked to the reform of governance structures and systems (qualification systems, quality assurance, national laws, organisation, coordination, accreditation, evaluation and the policy of higher education systems etc.) or enhance the links between higher education and society.

Structural Measures include studies and research, conferences and seminars, training courses, policy advice and dissemination of information. Two categories of Structural Measures may be supported:

“National Structural Measures” target one Partner Country and focus on the national priorities set for that country.

“Multi-country Structural Measures” aim to benefit more than one Partner Country. They focus on regional priorities, which are common to all Partner Countries in one region. They can also address a national priority shared by a number of Partner Countries.

National and regional priorities for Structural Measures Projects are defined in the Calls for ProposalIn principle, the maximum possible duration of projects is 36 months for Structural Measures.


Eligible Participants

  • Higher education institutions that wish to implement Projects in consortia composed of institutions from the EU (27 countries) and the Partner Countries
  • Associations, organisations or networks of higher education institutions, national or international rector, teacher or student organisations
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Social Partners or their training organisations
  • Chambers of commerce, labour associations or other public or private professional organisations
  • Private or public enterprises
  • Research institutions

Public administrations (i.e. Ministries, other national, regional and local administrations) or governmental organisations may participate in the Tempus Programme as associated partners.

More detailed information on TEMPUS can be found here.

TEMPUS programme as of 01/01/2014


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.