The University of Groningen (the Netherlands), the University of the Aegean (Greece), the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain) and the University of Iceland jointly announce the new Erasmus+ Mundus Joint Master Degree Programme in Islands and Sustainability (acronym: ISLANDS). Islands are special cases for Sustainable Development. Within the current global economic and social system islands in many cases face economic, social, political and cultural marginalization unless they cooperate. Cooperation is needed in research and education on the ways to manage islands and raise capacity building in island communities. Understanding the problems and finding effective ways to develop the potential of small islands requires international academic cooperation that looks beyond the specifics of individual islands. There is clearly a demand for a high quality Masters programme on sustainable development on islands that can enhance much required training and expertise in this field. This is why the University of Groningen, the University of the Aegean, the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Iceland have joined forces to launch a high-level integrated study programme on islands at Master level.
The ISLANDS programme combines thorough training in scientific research with a thematic specialization on Islands and Sustainability. It also provides multi-faceted training of research skills for social science and environmental research, including Individual Research Training by senior staff and training to work in a multi- and interdisciplinary research group. It involves taking a series of qualitative, quantitative and multi-method courses, as well as, courses on Scientific Reading, Debating and Reflecting, Scientific English Writing and Research Process.
ISLANDS students will be required to study at the University of Groningen in the first semester of the first year of the programme. During the second semester of the first year they study at one of the island-based universities of the consortium where they undertake Research Training and a Research Internship Module. Then, they return to Groningen for the first semester of their second year before going again to the same island-based university to undertake their Master thesis project in the second semester of the second year.
ISLANDS graduates receive a double-degree from the University of Groningen (including an acknowledgement that this is an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master degree involving all partner universities) and the island-based University in which the graduate spends the second half of the second year of their studies and the second half of the second semester of the first year.
The ISLANDS programme is also supported by six associated partners comprising academic institutions, a research institute, an SME and NGOs (including Geoparks in Iceland and on Lesvos).
Students will be shortlisted and selected, based on the following criteria:
EU-funded scholarships will be available for on average 15 students every year. The scholarship grant covers the tuition fee, and also provides a travel and living allowance. Admission to the degree programme and decisions on the award of scholarships will be determined by the Joint Admissions Board, which has one representative from each university, and has the Joint Programme Coordinator as its chairperson.
Please note that in line with the requirements for Erasmus Mundus joint Master programmes there is a residential eligibility criterion for scholarship applications according to which the study period should comprise at least 2 study periods in 2 countries, which must be different from your country of residence when you apply. This is particularly relevant to potential applicants who are currently resident in the Netherlands, Greece, Spain or Iceland.
The application portal for scholarship applications is open from 1 November until the application deadline on 15 January for the forthcoming autumn semester. Interviews of shortlisted applicants are scheduled for February/March. Self-funded candidatescan apply in an extra application rounduntil 1 April each year for a start in the autumn semester with possible interviews in April/May.