The project of the ALFA OBSERVATORY under the Alfa III Framework (Component III Accompanying Measures) was selected for funding by the European Commission. The project was officially launched on 16-17 December 2008 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The ALFA Observatory project , submitted by Porto University, with the role of a co-ordinator, and the Santander Group European Universities Network as a project partner, aims to contribute to the development of the Higher Education in LA through cooperation between the EU and the 18 eligible countries of Latin America by helping them improve accessibility, quality, and relevance of higher education in LA, contribute to the process of regional integration in LA, foster progress towards the creation of a joint higher education area in the region and exploiting its synergies with the EU system. The project duration is foreseen for 48 months.
The initiative involves partners from the following institutions: the Union of Latin American and Caribbean Universities (UDUAL), Universities Network Montevideo Group (AUGM), Forum of International Offices of the Brazilian Universities (FAUBAI), Association of Colombian Universities (ASCUN), National University of Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina (UNL), University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Federal University of Pernambuco, (UFPE), National University of Asuncion, Paraguay (UNA), Catholic University of Peru in Lima (PUCPE). The European partners are represented by the co-ordinating institution – Porto University and the Santander Group European Universities' Network.
The expected results of the project involve among others:
· Set up an ALFA Observatory with a hotline and an e-help desk. Create physical extensions in Latin America (antennas), allowing on-line distribution of information and project follow-up
· Create and manage an ALFA website providing information about the programme, active projects, administrative procedures, important links and contacts
· Set up a Documentation Centre responsible for the compilation and production of manuals and guidelines (administrative, financial, visibility)
· Collect information and organise central data-bases of project results and good practices, easily accessible to all participating players and organisations using electronic means
· Organise dissemination events for HEI's, public and private organisations and general public
· Organise training workshops and seminars for project coordinators and other participating players
· Produce review papers/evaluation studies on the progress achieved in priority areas defined for ALFA III
The specific contribution of this action, as specified for this Component III, will be achieved by working to create synergies between the projects approved under Components I and II, ensuring the collection, centralisation and dissemination of the results of Components I and II and by disseminating the best practices identified during the previous phases of ALFA and the execution of these projects.