Erasmus+ Successfully Wrapped Up Landmark Finance Project in Higher Education

The "Innovative Financial Inclusion in Academia and Field" (IFI) project, supported by Erasmus+ and the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), was a groundbreaking initiative aimed at integrating academic research with practical education in sustainable finance. Spanning 40 months with 13 partners from 7 countries, including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, the project made significant strides. It was notably co-led by the Estonian Business School (EBS), focusing on research and development in sustainable and inclusive finance through its Work Package 4 (WP4). The project enriched educational programs, fostered academia-industry collaborations, and culminated in innovative educational outputs like specialized courses and a new Microdegree in "Sustainable and Green Finance."

The "Innovative Financial Inclusion in Academia and Field" (IFI) project, a pioneering initiative focusing on sustainable finance, has been selected for co-funding under the Erasmus+ program by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). This funding supports the project’s aim to integrate academic research with practical education and entrepreneurship in sustainable finance.


Project Goals and Structure

The IFI project endeavors to systematically align the Israeli higher education system with global changes while developing new capacities for inclusive social finance. It operates on three levels:

  • Eco-system & Infrastructure: Building a supportive environment for sustainable finance.
  • Research, Teaching & Training: Enhancing educational programs and research opportunities in sustainable finance.
  • Academy-Industry Cooperation: Promoting partnerships between educational institutions and the finance industry.

We collaborated closely with other partners, including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, in a joint effort on this project. The initiative spanned 40 months and involved 13 partners from 7 different countries. A significant component, Work Package 4 (WP4), which focused on Building Innovation in Sustainable & Inclusive Finance, was co-led by the Estonian Business School (EBS). This package emphasized research, development, and design thinking in finance.


Educational Impact and Innovations

A key outcome of the project has been the development of a specialized course module on Inclusive Finance, which has already been taught to several student cohorts at EBS. The project has also led to the creation of 3 case studies (EBS created 3 case studies, in total under the project there were around 30) and a board game designed to engage students in the principles of sustainable finance. Furthermore, EBS inspired a new Microdegree in "Sustainable and Green Finance," enhancing our curriculum to better prepare students for the challenges of sustainable economic practices.


Publications and Future Directions

The project’s insights are also being shared through academic publications. Notably, Aleksandra Kekkonen of EBS is contributing a chapter titled "The Role of Social Inclusion and Community Participation in Driving Sustainable Financial Ecosystems" in the upcoming book "Sustainable Finance Regulation in the European Union: Pathways, Practices, and National Perspectives."


Community and Collaboration

Throughout its duration, the IFI project has not only advanced academic knowledge but also fostered a community of practice across Europe and Israel, identifying key stakeholders and change agents in the sustainable finance field. The project concluded with a final meeting in Heidelberg, Germany, hosted by the Centre for Social Investment, celebrating the collaborative achievements and the forward momentum the project has established.

This Erasmus+ funded project stands as a testament to the power of international collaboration in higher education, aiming to create a more sustainable and inclusive financial ecosystem through innovative education and research.


Learn more about the project and access educational resources here.


Special thanks to the EBS staff for their contributions to the project: Aleksandra Kekkonen, Marge Täks, Margit Kattai.