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The ERASMUS student exchange programme

1 June 2015

Here at Abertay we are involved in the Erasmus exchange programme, which offers students the chance to study abroad at other European institutions.

We currently have students studying in Lapland and in Malta, but we also host students from partner institutions across the continent.

This summer, we have four exchange students working on projects with Professor Graeme Walker and Dr Andrew Spiers in our Microbial Ecology and Microbiology laboratories.

Torsten Matzke – our Exchange and Study Abroad Officer – tells us a bit more about what they’re doing and how you can get involved and have a similarly spectacular experience abroad:


“An exchange through the Erasmus programme can be an incredible academic, personal and professional experience.

“Students have opportunities to learn about another culture, people and way of life, as well as the chance to experience academic life at another institution and travel around in their host country.

“If you go on an exchange you’ll not only gain new skills, develop fresh ideas and make new friends, but also get the chance to improve your CV, expand your employment opportunities and make yourself an attractive candidate for any job – employers value international experience as well as qualities such as independence, self-motivation and the ability to overcome challenges.

“We’ve got adventurous students and academic staff from countries across Europe who are taking advantage of the scheme to do just that right here at Abertay.


“Louise Couderchet is studying for her Masters in Biotechnology at the University of La Rochelle in France, but applied to come to Abertay for three months to learn about our expertise in yeasts and brewing.

“She’s been working with Professor Graeme Walker and one of his PhD students – Kirsty Black – on a project investigating how faba beans can be used to make a more environmentally friendly type of beer and the project will go towards her masters degree back home.”


“Dr Ebru Evren – who is based in the Faculty of Medicine within the Department of Medical Microbiology at Baskent University in Ankara in Turkey – came to Abertay to learn more about biofilms from Dr Andrew Spiers.

“She heard about our expertise in this area at a conference she attended, and took the opportunity to come and learn more about biofilm detection methods from Dr Spiers so that she can put these into practice back in Turkey where they are not routinely used.

“Biofilms are groups of bacterial cells that cause chronic infections – especially in hospitalised patients. Because they are resistant to antibiotics and the human immune system, they are difficult to treat and the research we are doing here at Abertay to better understand them will hopefully mean that new treatment methods can be developed.”

Czech Republic

“Dr Jaroslav Čepl from the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague in the Czech Republic, is also working with Dr Spiers.

“He is a theoretical and evolutionary biologist and applied to come to Abertay after reading a paper written by Dr Spiers about the wrinkly spreader – a type of biofilm that can be used to demonstrate evolution.

“He will take what he learns here back to his own university and use it to teach his own students about evolution back in the Czech Republic.”


“Finally, Corinna Immoor from Germany is studying Environmental and Industrial Biology in Bremen at the University of Applied Sciences, but came to Abertay back in September last year to learn about human physiology – something that her course didn’t offer.

“She’s been working on the wrinkly strains with Ebru and Jaroslav so, as well as making connections with scientists here at Abertay, she now also has contacts in Turkey and the Czech Republic which may be useful for future research collaborations.”

Go global!

“All the institutions we offer exchanges with teach in English, so there won’t be a language barrier for you and you can study for as little as one semester or as much as one whole year – it’s entirely up to you.

“So, if there’s a scientist you admire elsewhere in Europe, a paper you’ve read and would like to learn more about, or even if you just want to take advantage of the opportunity to go to another country, do get in touch to find out about the kinds of placements on offer.”

There is more information about the ERASMUS scheme on our Exchange and Study Abroad pages.

To contact Torsten please email

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