Universities have been key partners of Spanish Cooperation since the creation of AECID in 1988. Collaboration on human resources training in partner countries, and knowledge generation and transmission, have been carried out using different instruments; noteworthy among them are the Grants and Assistantships Programmes, which have continued uninterrupted ever since.

The recognition of the university community as a crucial actor in Spanish Cooperation was incorporated into the 2nd Master Plan, and every one since.

Through its Department of Scientific and University Cooperation, AECID maintains close contact with the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) and CRUE's specialised commission on internationalisation and cooperation. The University Development Cooperation Observatory (OCUD) is the liaison between AECID and CRUE in the area of development cooperation: the Working Group on Cooperation of Spanish universities' Internationalisation and Cooperation.  

Results of this collaboration include the research grants regularly funded by Spanish Cooperation. These grants contribute directly to research for and about development cooperation, as well as to human resources training in thematic areas specified in national Master Plan.

The different calls for applications include specific programmes to encourage the participation of researchers and master's or doctoral students in research projects of the highest quality. The projects are proposed by Spanish universities, and they can do so with the support of partner countries' university associations.

They also include a master's degree programme that recognises the key role of education and capacity-building as engines of development, and which has the purpose of offering civil servants or staff working in public school systems and universities from countries, populations and priority areas having a special impact on development, in accordance with the thematic and geographic priorities in the 2013-2016 Fourth Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation.

Spanish Cooperation also promotes close contact with foreign universities through the MAEC-AECID Assistantships Programme, which comprises an extensive network of more than 100 professors of Spanish in universities worldwide. Participating Assistants' activities go beyond teaching Spanish, since they constitute a focal point that favours the internationalisation of Spanish universities and the promotion of Spanish culture.


Spanish universities within the cooperation system

Since the 2nd Master Plan for Spanish Cooperation, universities have been considered development cooperation stakeholders, which is why they are represented on the Cooperation Council.

Public universities, as stakeholders in the Spanish Cooperation system, report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation on their efforts in this area, through the OCUD, and their information is collated on the Info@OD platform.


 University Development Cooperation Observatory (OCUD)

The University Development Cooperation Observatory (OCUD) is an initiative of the Conference of Rector of Spanish Universities (CRUE), in coordination with the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. 

 Characteristics of the OCUD:

  • Serves as a point of reference for university development cooperation in Spain.
  • Is the central hub of a network of development cooperation structures for all Spanish universities.
  • Facilitates exchange of experiences among universities, and contributes to raising the profile of universities' work in the field of development cooperation, as well as their resources and potential.
  • Aims to improve the relationship with other cooperation stakeholders, and strengthen networking among universities and among other cooperation stakeholders.
  • Is a source for integrating data within the Spanish Cooperation system on all the processes of the cycle, from planning to implementation and evaluation.