CUD-AGA Erasmus Policy Statement

Participation in Erasmus+

The University Center of Defense (CUD) at the Spanish Air Force Academy (AGA) is a small Higher Education Institution (HEI), adscribed to the Technical University of Cartagena (UPCT), and one of four centers that make up the network of Defense University Centers at Spanish military academies. Our center offers a civilian industrial engineering degree to military cadets, as well as an online master program.

In the framework of Erasmus+, CUD would like to take part in Key Action 1 «Learning Mobility». Due to the specific training program followed by our students which combines a civilian undergraduate degree with their military and flight training over a 5 year period, international student exchanges are constrained by agreements between armed forces and fall outside the scope of the Erasmus+. Consequently, the mobility projects we plan to implement within the Erasmus+ 2021-2027 program will be focused only on staff mobility for teaching and training. Participating in Key Action 1, specifically KA103 and KA107 Mobility Projects for Higher Education Students and Staff, will enable our staff to  aquire international experience and competences to improve academic aspects at our institution, as well as strengthen international research partnerships contributing to the objectives of CUD´s institutional strategy. 

The selection procedure for staff mobility will be carried out through transparent public calls published on the institutional website for all academic staff, based on candidate merits and potential benefits of the proposed mobility. Participants will be selected without regard to gender, race, religion or social background. Formal recognition will be given to staff for their internationalization work through periodic evaluation and certificates will be issued to accredit successfully completed mobilities. In all exchanges, the criteria of non-discrimination will be met, promoting gender equality, ensuring the integration of staff with disabilities, seeking to improve economic and social cohesion and combating any manifestation of xenophobia and racism.

CUD has sufficient organizational structure to ensure the quality of academic mobility activities. An Erasmus coordinator is available to support staff with their exchange activities, providing participants with the necessary information and monitoring the activities carried out, as well as administrative support for financial issues from the administrative office. 

Strategy, objectives and impact  

The University Center of Defense (CUD) at the Spanish Air Force Academy (AGA) began its regular activities in academic year 2010/2011 and is presently working towards enhanced internationalization as a key aspect of its strategic plan, recognizing the need to intensify and promote academic, scientific and cultural international cooperation and experience in the framework of the European Education Area. 

Our center has been realizing annual cadet exchanges with military training centers in France since 2010/11 and the United States since 2014/15. Although international exchanges of our students are constrained by agreements between armed forces, falling outside the scope of the Erasmus+ program, the center has been participating as an observing partner in the European Initiative for the Exchange of Military Young Officers (EMILYO) inspired by Erasmus since 2017. EMILYO aims at developing exchanges between future military officers implemented by European Union Member States on a voluntary basis without compromising their autonomy with regard to military training. Currently, CUD has participated as an observer in the development of a Common International Air Force semester and is exploring the possibility of future exchanges.

Outside agreements in the Defense sector, CUD has been working towards establishing cooperation with institutions that foster teaching and research lines similar to those of the center’s academic staff. To this end, several staff members have already completed research stays at prestigious international centers in the EU (France , Portugal, United Kingdom, …) and abroad (USA, Brazil,…) and actively participate in international projects, for example in the framework of the COST program. In the Framework of the Erasmus+ program, CUD plans to promote staff mobility to leading higher educational institutions and businesses to gain international experience, and learn from good practices and new educational working models, as well as strengthen research collaborations with international institutions. Members of our staff have previously realized Erasmus mobility activities within Erasmus grants offered by the Technical University of Cartagena (UPCT). As an autonomous institution, CUD received its ECHE in 2018 and its first Key Action 103 project is currently underway. 

Staff mobilities within in the Erasmus program will be focused on enhancing teaching and/or research activities by observing good teaching practices implemented at reference centers in the academic sector, guest teaching at foreign institutions, visiting leading companies to update practical knowledge, and collaborating with academic institutions and companies on common research topics. 

In general, due to the nature of the institution, the search for partners will focus on technological centers and engineering schools in the EU and other countries (USA), particularly related to the dual-use technology sector. The Erasmus+ program, specifically KA1, is conceived as an important tool for the search of potential collaborators. The center is open to joint projects and agreements aimed at improving its teaching, educational innovation and research lines. To facilitate the establishment of such collaborations, the institution has provided financial support to attend international conferences, scientific meetings and stays abroad in order to seek potential collaborators. The institution is open to the use of its facilities by the participants of cooperation projects and will promote the necessary actions to facilitate their logistics.

Within the overall objective of internationalization, the following specific objectives have been defined:

O1: Improving the capacity and professional skills of our academic staff through staff mobility

O2: Developing new strategic plans based on knowledge acquired through academic staff mobility to improve academic aspects and teaching.

O3: Seeking partners and increasing the visibility of the teaching and research activities of the institution at an international level.

O4: Increasing linguistic competences through international staff mobility.

In relation to the expected impact of participation in the Erasmus+ Program at our institution, we highlight the following. By enabling academic staff to visit and learn from leading companies of different sectors, as well as acquire new teaching techniques from international higher education institutions, both the academic and research quality of our center will be improved. The exchange of good practices is expected to have a high impact on management and methodology innovation, as well as increasing knowledge, experience, confidence and linguistic skills of the academic staff. Furthermore, staff mobility is expected help in establishing inter-institutional contacts, and lead to joint research collaboration and projects.

Participation in Erasmus+ will contribute towards the modernization of the institution as follows:

– Improvement of the quality and relevance of higher education and increased levels of success of graduates and researchers: Although the employment of students at the center is guaranteed by their specific relation to the Spanish Armed Forces, excellence is required to pursue a successful military career. Additionally, the possibility offered to graduates to pursue a career outside the Spanish Armed Forces also requires a quality and up-to-date education. Consequently, academic staff is encouraged to carry out a process of continuous training, updating their knowledge and adapting to new students. For this, international mobility stays within the Erasmus+ program will be an element of great importance, enabling academic staff to visit leading companies of different sectors and/or acquire new teaching techniques from international higher education institutions.

-Increased mobility and cross-border cooperation. In order to consolidate this point, the actions carried out under the Erasmus+ program will be recognized by the center and the institutions involved through corresponding official certificates, assuming an international experience for the beneficiaries that will result in the establishment (or reinforcement) of links between the different Institutions.

-Reinforcement of the «knowledge triangle» that relates education, research and innovation. For this point, innovation and research apply to education from two perspectives. On one hand, by broadening (modernizing) the general knowledge about the subject taught. On the other hand, research and innovation in the teaching methods themselves acquired from observing good practices and new methodologies. These two aspects will be pursued via staff mobilities and must be justified in the requests and reports of the activity.

Our overall objective is internationalization with the specific objectives (O1-O4) as outlined above. The primary quality indicator for these objectives is the number of staff mobilities per academic year. Our indicative time line is to apply for one KA103 (and possibly KA107) project in each annual call and realize 3 outgoing staff mobilities per year (approx. 8% of academic staff). Furthermore, we would like to improve mobility management and support, with the quality indicator being the results of staff on-line satisfaction surveys.


Indicator Indicative timeline
Number of staff completing an outgoing staff mobility Estimated 3 outgoing staff mobilities per year
Number of project proposals submitted for the KA1 calls Each year, CUD plans to submit 1 KA103 (and possibly KA107) proposal
Results of on-line satisfaction surveys Annual analysis of surveys to increase the quality of mobility management and support to staff