DIRE-MED aims to strengthen the capacities of the International Relations Offices (IROs) of higher education institutions (HEIs) of partner countries in order to configure them as Offices of international opportunities in the broad sense:
- At the HEI level: by providing international opportunities for study, teaching, internship, training and joint research mobility. The direct beneficiaries will be students in the broad sense (including off-campus students coming from non-traditional paths: graduates, young entrepreneurs, young professionals), academic and non-academic staff;
- Beyond the simply university context: by working closely with local, regional and national authorities, with businesses, and in particular with SMEs.
Using mobility and internationalization activities at home (south-south, south-north, north-south) as a powerful tool for international opening, the result of capacity building for HEI staff and university-society dialogue, will result in the creation of a framework for academic cooperation in the Mediterranean basin.
This framework will contribute to the implementation of a sustainable and harmonious cooperation process between the participating countries and to increase and improve the quality of exchanges of students, academic and non-academic university staff, as well as to encourage the cooperation and the participation of local entities and society in general. The IROs will be of help as catalyst centers providing information to third parties, thereby increasing the multiplier effect of the project.
Furthermore, strengthening the skills of the IROs staff of the HEIs will be an important factor in increasing the competitiveness of the universities concerned and will contribute to consolidating cooperation between them (south-south).
- To create a framework of cooperation to facilitate exchanges of students in the broad sense, and academic and non-academic staff of HEIs in the Mediterranean Basin. This cooperation framework will aim to provide an integrative, transferable and reusable cooperation structure.
- To articulate university-society cooperation through the promotion of intercultural dialogue and by strengthening the international and entrepreneurial spirit in the region, in order to boost the job market. The IROs that have become “International Opportunities Offices” will be able, not only to offer international opportunities for their internal university community, but also to companies, associations, industries and stakeholders which will be able to approach the Offices to push for (future ) more international and better prepared trainees and employees, studies and research with an international vocation and, in general, creating closer university-business and university-society relationships.
- To build the capacity of IROs staff from HEIs in partner countries to lead the promotion of international opportunities and mobility for education and training in their region and to promote the internationalization of universities. The training offered and its format will also have a transmissible and transferable vocation.
- Act on future policies to consolidate, improve and develop new programs and initiatives.
- The main target group of the project, and in particular the beneficiary of the capacity building activities, is the staff of the IRO of the HEIs, in particular the directors, technical coordinators and technicians, as well as the staff involved in the pilot activities to the “sub-beneficiaries” of this project. The staff of the IRO of the HEIs involved in the project will participate in the implementation of the project activities (research, definition of the cooperation framework, promotion of intercultural dialogue) and will be the direct beneficiaries of the training. Through training, this target group will be professionally trained to manage and promote international opportunities for the university community within their institutions and in their country and region and to be catalysts for university-society dialogue.
- The second target group is made up of the entire university community of HEIs, including academic staff (composed of professors and teacher-researchers, etc.), non-academic staff and students in the broad sense (which also includes off-campus students or students arriving at the HEIs by “unconventional” paths, such as young professionals, young entrepreneurs, graduates returning to university in search of new training, etc.). They will be direct beneficiaries of the pilot activities which will offer them international opportunities (mobility and internationalization activities at home), as well as services provided by the IROs. Members of this target group will have the opportunity to increase their soft skills and professional and academic skills through their participation in pilot activities.
- Finally, the third target group is made up of actors from society in general in the countries concerned, in particular businesses (small and medium-sized enterprises as well as big businesses), local, regional and national authorities, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other interest groups. This group will be invited to participate in information sessions organized during local information workshops, to participate in activities within the framework of WP5 and it will be a target group with regard to the dissemination activities of the project ensuring a major impact of the project and also its sustainability. The company will benefit from professionals, young people, researchers, more international students, more trained and with a more open mindset.