On 10-11 April 2006, the Consejo Universitario Iberoamericano (CUIB) and the European University Association (EUA) gathered in Oviedo (Spain), at a meeting hosted jointly by the University of Oviedo and the Prince of Asturias Foundation to establish priorities for higher education and research cooperation in the years to come and to prepare a joint declaration as input to the EU-LAC summit meeting that will take place in Vienna on 11/12 May 2006.
The Declaration outlines the aims and objectives of the strategic alliance being forged between universities in the two regions and the crucial role that institutions can play "as engines for development". It sets out a number of priorities such as developing innovative inter-institutional research collaboration and partnerships in order to enhance research and innovation and better respond to society's needs. Another key aim is to enhance dialogue between universities and industry in EU and LAC countries, as a means of contributing to the training of young professionals. The promotion of information sharing on the reform processes underway in the two regions is also an important objective. Another priority for universities is increasing the mobility of staff and students, while ensuring that periods of time spent abroad are appropriately recognised. In addition, strengthening cooperation in quality assurance is included as a means to improve transparency and thus facilitate recognition and the development o f joint programmes.
It also sets out recommendations for governments, the European Commission and universities. The European Commission is encouraged to reinforce existing initiatives open to LAC institutions, for example by opening a LAC 'window' in the Erasmus Mundus programme, and to increase opportunities for involvement in the forthcoming 7th Framework Programme for Research (FP7). Governments are urged to allocate increased funding to promote cooperation between the two regions and to take action to promote and facilitate mobility. EU-LAC universities should develop joint master and doctoral programmes as a priority and make better use made of existing instruments and mechanisms for research and existing cooperation schemes to facilitate staff and student exchanges.