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Profile  [4B]  Research-related activities of institutions

Country outlines  [AT] [BE] [BG] [CY] [CZ] [DE] [DK] [EE] [ES] [FI] [FR] [HU] [IE] [IT] [LT] [LV] [MT] [NO] [PL] [PT] [RO] [SE] [SI] [SK] [UK]

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Research carried out in institutions related to VET and HRD forms part of several activities. These can be directed towards policy and practice, in particular administration, information, consulting/ services and development, or focus on academic and scientific activities, above all advanced-level teaching. The following analysis draws on an initial collection of 'main research centres, including bodies, departments and units within universities' (see Overview, aspect 4). Research activities within these institutions vary a great deal in terms of objectives and proportion. The resulting sample (333 institutions of 25 countries) was analysed, on the basis of the institutions' home pages, with regard to the major activities carried out in the institution concerned. This analysis is a follow-up of an earlier study covering European countries as a whole (see Issues arising from an institutional analysis of HRD/VET research). 

The diagram below presents an overview of the research-related activities across the 333 institutions. The proportion for each activity is derived from the sum total of activities (n=402) in these institutions. In these relationships, the activity concerned may dominate or complement research or be of equal standing. In a lot of cases, two or more activities are combined within individual institutions, although this is not reflected in the diagram. Nevertheless, even the simplified overall structure shows the extent to which VET/HRD research is interlinked with other activities. The evidence as a whole suggests a highly interactive character of European VET/HRD research. 
 

Administration
+ research
(13%)
Information
+ research
(7%)
Consulting
+ research
(16%)
Development
+ research
(19%)
Teaching
+ research
(28%)
Research
on its own
(17%)

In the following analysis, the research-related activities of institutions are broken down into two types:

  • Research involved in (or linked with) activities directed towards policy and practice, including administration, information, consulting/ services and development; 
  • Research as part of academic/ interdisciplinary activity, including both advanced-level teaching and research on its own.
In the map below, the balance between these two types is presented in three patterns, which characterise the institutional activities in each country (see definition of patterns in the legend on the right).
 
DK
FI
NO
SE
     
             
AT
BE
 
BG
CZ
EE
DE
FR
 
HU
LT
LV
IE
UK
 
PL
RO
SI
SK
             
CY
ES
IT
MT
PT
 
Pattern of research-related activities in institutions
I
(A) Focus on policy/ practice
I
(B) Balance between policy/ practice and academic/ interdisciplinary activities
I
(C) Focus on academic/ interdisciplinary activities
 

As the map shows, three patterns of institutional activity related to VET/HRD research are found across European countries: In pattern A, the research-related activities are focused on policy and/or practice (including administration, information, consulting/ services and development), in pattern C, on the other hand, research is mostly carried out as part of academic and/or interdisciplinary activities (including both advanced-level teaching and research on its own). In pattern B, there is an overall balance between research-related institutions of type A (orientation towards policy and/or practice) and type C (academic and/or interdisciplinary activities).
   The total number of countries is fairly evenly distributed according to the three patterns. In terms of regions, however, there is an obvious concentration among the Northern countries (DK, FI, NO, SE) on pattern C, focusing on academic and/or interdisciplinary activities, while the other regions include this pattern in only a few cases (AT, ES, SK). The focus on pattern C in Northern Europe may be due to the strong involvement in these countries of VET/HRD research in lifelong learning and other holistic concepts which are pursued in institutions of higher education and research. 
   The opposite pattern (A), referring to a focus on policy or practice, could be associated with a predominant involvement of institutions in promoting VET/HRD provision in the country concerned. Examples of this pattern can be found particularly in Central-Eastern Europe, where countries are in a transition stage (BG, LV, PL, RO, SI), partly in Southern Europe (CY, PT) but also in Western Europe (DE, UK). 

NOTE: The Profile of national research is based on a comparative analysis of selected activities in 25 European countries (see Overview). This data has been compiled from the national reports prepared by the Cedefop ReferNet in 2006 and subsequently published by Cedefop (see Introduction and Reference). 

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Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO