Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 40 million
To encourage cooperation between Latin America and Europe in the field of higher education, in order to make up for the deficiencies and overcome the disparities and imbalances between the two regions, by improving the scientific, academic and technological potential of Latin America; To promote cooperation programmes through networks of higher education institutions from Europe and Latin America, with a view to carrying out common academic activities, facilitating the exchange of post-graduates and university students and other activities.


On 10 March 1994, the Commission gave its approval to the ALFA programme which aims at promoting cooperation in the field of academic training between the EU Member States and 18 Latin American countries. Scheduled to run for five years, the content of the programme conforms to the orientations set out in Regulation (EEC) 443/93 regarding the reinforcement of economic cooperation of mutual interest and the guidelines defined in the third generation of cooperation agreements signed by the European Community and certain countries in Latin America, both of which emphasize the importance of training actions, in particular those related to higher level resources.

Under the programme, priority is given to academic projects related to:

- Economic and social sciences in general and, in particular, company management, public services, economics and economic law, environmental studies, regional integration, rural development, regional and urban planning, and social and educational policy;
- Engineering science;
- Medicine and other health sciences.

Details about the programme can be obtained from the ALFA Technical Assistance Office: BAT/CEEEETA
Rue Joseph II 36-40
B-1040 Brussels
Tel: +32-2-2190453
Fax: +32-2-2196384


Two subprogrammes:

- Cooperation for institutional management (Subprogramme A): seminars and intensive courses, in the following domains:
. Academic and administrative management;
. Academic recognition of grades, titles and degrees;
. Improvement, adaptation and, if needed, harmonization of curricula;
. Cooperation between institutions of higher education and companies;
. Innovation and systematization of the education task;
. Institutional assessment;

- Cooperation for scientific and technological training (Subprogramme B):
. Supporting curricula for advanced training (Ph.Ds, Masters Degrees, and professional specializations) and complementary training of students from the last two years of a higher education degree;
. Devising common research projects.


The European Commission (Directorate for Latin America of the DG for External Economic Relations, DG I) is responsible for implementing the programme, assisted by a Technical Assistance Office and a Scientific Committee. The Scientific Committee is composed of six members with expertise in the scientific, academic and business domains.

Participation in the programme is open to higher education institutions which are formally recognized by the governments of the EU Member States and of the following Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela.

The ALFA programme operates through networks, which consist of a set of higher education institutions cooperating in institutional management and/or cooperation in scientific and technological training. Each network must contain at least five institutions from five different countries, of which at least three are from the European Union and two from Latin America.

The Commission will regularly publish invitations to higher education institutions, grouped in networks, to submit applications for projects in the framework of the ALFA programme. Provisions are also made for the formation of Groups made up of different networks. Invitations are published in the major papers of the countries concerned and are also distributed through the Delegations and Offices of the Commission, the Missions of the Latin American countries to the European Communities, and the Permanent Representations of the Member States to the European Union.

For the submission of projects, one of the Network's institutions, appointed as coordinator and acting on behalf of the Network, will present a common application, normally within a time limit of between 30 to 45 days from the date of publication of the invitation. The application must be accompanied by letters of adhesion from all the other participants in which they state their agreement to cooperate in accordance with the terms set out in the proposed project.

Projects are selected by the Commission in accordance with the financial availability for each subprogramme and on the basis of the opinion of the Scientific Committee. Once a project has been approved, the selection of the grant-holders is made by the institutions in the Network, in accordance with the methods for selection set out in the original proposal.

The Commission, in collaboration with the Technical Assistance Office, is in charge of the technical and financial follow-up o institution is required to furnish the Commission with an interim report - provided the duration of the project exceeds one year - and a final report upon completion of the project.

An initial budget of ECU 40 million has been allocated to the programme, of which ECU 32 million is provided by the European Union and ECU 8 million by the beneficiary institutions through own or third party contributions.

The Commission finances up to 80% of the global cost of the submitted projects. A limited contribution of at least 20% per network and per budget is required from the participating institutions to finance certain parts of each network's projects. For projects comprising post-graduate and student exchanges, financial support is provided for travel expenses, per diem, perfection of languages and support to the host institution.
Record Number: 518 / Last updated on: 2014-03-05