One of the strategic areas of Universidade Aberta (UAb) is the cooperation with other higher education institutions (HEI), the civil society and the business world. Fostering the scientific, technical and cultural exchanges with similar national and international institutions is a goal of utmost importance at UAb. Over the years, UAb has established hundreds of protocols and partnerships with national and foreign institutions with special focus on research and development activities, especially in the area of distance education and elearning.
Worldwide, UAb is present in different international networks in Europe, Africa, America and Asia. It covers mostly the Portuguese-speaking area, including Macau. Within the European space, it promotes mobility within the framework of the Erasmus+ Program and participates in different R&D projects. Within the Portuguese-speaking space, UAb is a member of the Association of Portuguese-language Universities and of the Lusophone Network for Distance Education by hosting one of its Distance Education Centre – CE@D. It should be noted the list of protocols & partnerships established with higher education institutions and companies as well as the activities carried out in East Timor (training of teachers, educational agents and officials of the Timorese public administration). In Asia, UAb was a founding member of the International Asia Open University, offering degree programs and post-graduate degrees in Chinese, English and Portuguese.
Currently, UAb is a member of the following international networks:
• AIESAD (Asociación Iberoamericana de Educación Superior a Distancia)
• AULP (Associação das Universidades de Língua Portuguesa)
• EADTU (European Association of Distance Teaching Universities)
• EDEN (European Distance and E-Learning Network)
• EFQUEL (European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning)
• EUA (European University Association)
• EUCEN (European University Continuing Education Network)
• GDLN(Global Development Learning Network)
• GUIDE (Global Universities in Distance Education)
• ICDE (International Council for Open and Distance Education)
Internally, UAb promotes a decentralized organizational structure, which favors a larger contact and proximity with society and with its students and trainees. Besides its two delegations in two major Portuguese cities (Porto and Coimbra), the University has been developing a network of Local Learning Centres (LLC) in Portugal and abroad. The LLC are small units created to support the academic activities and to promote lifelong learning programs. Currently, there are 17 LLC: 16 in Portugal (resulting from partnerships with different Portuguese City Councils) and 1 in Maputo, Mozambique.