#IBelong: Towards a Sense of Belonging in an Inclusive Learning Environment

Programa Erasmus+, Commissão Europeia




Marieke Meuwisse, Erasmus Universititeit Rotterdam, Holanda



  • Erasmus Universititeit Rotterdam - EUR (Holanda)
  • Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação da Universidade do Porto - FPCEUP (Portugal)
  • Knowlwdge Innovation Centre - KIC (Malta)
  • Stichting Echo Expertisecentrum Diversiteitsbeleid - ECHO (Holanda)
  • Universidade de Edge Hill - UEH (Reino Unido)
  • Universitaet Osnabrueck - UOS (Alemanha)


Equipa portuguesa
Sofia Marques da Silva (Coord.)
Amélia Veiga
Tiago Neves


36 meses
1-9-2018 – 31-8-2021



The #I Belong project focuses on improving the experiences and outcomes of students from diverse backgrounds (in particular migrant students and first-generation entrants) through creating a more inclusive learning environment in higher education. The main objective of this Strategic Partnership on diversity and inclusion in higher education is to build a programme of interventions, to develop a sense of belonging amongst higher education students irrespective of their diversity, thereby increasing student retention and promoting a fair chance of succeeding.

The #I Belong project’s sub objectives are:

  • To raise awareness among staff and faculty of higher education institutions to effectively engage with the current diversity of students;
  • To develop the capacity of higher staff to understand and value (cultural/ethnic) diversity and sense of belonging, and to design and deliver learning that is inclusive of the breadth of diversity found in a modern higher education cohort;
  • To develop a set of culturally sensitive interventions, which can be adapted to various contexts, positively impacting higher education needs in terms of diversity, sense of belonging, inclusion, retention and success;
  • To provide evidence and examples of interventions for higher education institutions to develop their own policy and practice on improving students’ sense of belonging;
  • To collaborate and share practices with EU and global networks with valuable knowledge, expertise and skills in field of diversity in higher education.

The #I Belong project uses a deliberate and participatory intervention (Dialogue Days Toolkit) to empower students to talk about diversity and difference in relation to higher education learning with staff. It builds on these insights with teaching staff to develop their capacity and confidence to enable a diverse student population to engage, belong and learn successfully (Team Teacher Training Programme). The final intervention seeks to support students to develop learning communities (Students as Community Builders’-Resource Pack) in which they can belong outside of taught sessions. Both staff and students at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Edge Hill University, University of Porto and Osnabrueck University will be actively involved in all project’s interventions.

The #I Belong project will enhance expertise in promoting an inclusive learning environment in higher education, by working towards opportunities for a diversity of students to construct a strong sense of belonging. The project will impact on a change in organisational culture to create and sustain a more inclusive university by developing a systemic approach that integrates a vision of high quality education and also a vision on supporting diverse students’ engagement in meaningful learning experiences. As such, student outcomes in higher education may be improved and have a positive impact on learning and teaching practice in higher education if other institutions are able to translate the experience of this project to their own context (higher education system, learning environment, curriculum, staff and students).