Centre of European integration, international and public relations
The Agricultural University won the recognition as a higher educational institution open to the rich experience of its partners, proud of the long-year traditions in the area of international cooperation and the close academic and research contacts maintained with more than 100 universities from Europe, Asia, Africa and the USA.
Major aspects in international activities:
- Bilateral cooperation with foreign universities for exchange of experience, improvement of curricula and study programmes, exchange of teachers and joint training of students in the three educational degrees;
- Participation in international educational and research projects under different European programmes;
- Enlarging Еразъм+ bilateral agreements in geographical coverage and in scientific areas with the aim of promoting the exchange of students, teaching and non-teaching staff;
- Developing projects under different EU Operational Programmes for Bulgaria;
- Providing still larger media publicity for the Agricultural University – Plovdiv.
The Agricultural University is among the first Bulgarian Universities awarded an Erasmus Charter as early as 1999 with the accession of the country to Socrates/Erasmus programme. In 2007, the University received an Extended Erasmus Charter, which allows the students the opportunity to take part in international practical placements. In 2014, the University joined the Erasmus+ programme with a vast network of contacts with almost all European countries. Nowadays we have Bilateral Agreements signed with over 80 higher education institutions and companies.
An Erasmus office has been established within the Centre, which is a unit administrating the incoming and outgoing mobility of students, teaching and non-teaching staff. Erasmus+ programme provides opportunities for students to study at prestigious European universities or to join a traineeship programme at university laboratories, farms and hotels. The period of study and/or traineeship abroad is fully recognized and it is documented in the Diploma Supplement.
From the start of the programme in 1999 to the middle of 2016, over 550 students and 450 teachers and administrators took part in outgoing mobilities.
Every academic year AU receives incoming Erasmus students and teachers. In the last several years one of the aims set by AU has been achieved, i.e. reaching a reciprocal number of incoming and outgoing student mobilities for study.
In the recent years the Agricultural University – Plovdiv has realized 4 projects with the financial support of America for Bulgaria Foundation: on acquiring new knowledge about the co-existence of biological conventional and biotech crop production; for establishing a National Demonstration Site for new agricultural technologies; for establishing an Experimental Centre for integrated plant protection and on developing a new Master’s programme in Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship, delivered in English language by both Bulgarian and American lecturers. The US partner is the University of Missouri, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
Six projects under ‘Human Resource Development’ Operational Programme were successfully finished: support to the development of doctoral students; providing pre-diploma paid internship to Bachelor’s degree students; improving the quality of training for young scientists in horticulture; support to the development of young scientists and post-doctoral researchers; development of electronic forms of distance education; improving the University management system at AU.
Three projects under OP for trans-border cooperation in Southeast Europe – Inno_FOOD, GuardEn and AGRO_ LESS, have been implemented.
AU has been involved in the TEMPUS IV programme with three projects in three different areas – plant protection, food technologies and agribusiness.
At present AU is implementing 17 significant international projects, including 8 educational projects, 5 research projects financed by FP 7th and 4 projects under EU Operational Programmes.
The tradition has been established for sending the students for a seasonal work in European countries where they acquire knowledge and skills in advanced agricultural technologies, study the language and get in touch with different cultures. The period is recognized as practical work experience included in the compulsory curricula.
The staff of the Centre is conducting the advertising activities and is responsible for the public relations with the aim of promoting the prestige of the Agricultural University.