VET and HRD research in European countries > Overview

Austria  [7]  Review of VET/HRD research

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Current VET/HRD research

VET research in Austria is conducted in a strongly policy related manner by a set of mainly small institutes which are competing for project commissions. We have also seen that HRD-research hardly does exist, and as far it exists in business universities, it is separated from VET research. A shortcoming in Austrian VET research is that it is hardly institutionalised in the university system. Some steps have been taken recently to set up departments in this area.

In this competitive structure resources for the public good of documentation and coordination are lacking to a high degree. The European programmes have given some support for internationalisation of research, however, it is still low as compared to other small countries.

There are strong indications that research is not much used for policy development and change, and, moreover, that many projects have a lack of resources. So this might be efficient in economic terms (relatively much value for too little money), however, it hardly can be effective under these conditions. 

We do not have a sufficient overview about what is done, not to mention the impact of research.

Future VET/HRD research

The issues which need to be addressed have not substantially changed since the last report, rather might those issues be underlined more strongly:

  • Overview and coordination should be visibly improved. An important step would be to improve the documentation of what is done. A kind of lock-in seems to exist, where each of the players is lacking resources, and as far none provides information the others have no incentive to do this. A more professionally oriented research policy could be a step.
  • More continuity and follow-up, and more basic research would be another improvement. Cooperation of the players could bring more communication and more strength of research. The establishment of a yearly VET research conference, and more inclusion in European and international activities could be steps in that direction.
  • To give VET research more resources in the university system would be another strategy for more sustainability. A more systematic and transparent programming and funding of VET research would be feasible.
  • In certain areas more cooperation between the funding institutions might be feasible, e.g. in the area of anticipation of futures skill needs, or in the area of development of lifelong learning.
There are still particularly two areas where more research should be done:
  • The first is economics of education. Too little is known about internal and external efficiency of education and training.
  • The second area where more research should be done is adult and continuing education. The attempts to establish a research network, and to identify an agenda among the researchers might be a first step. To include research in the lifelong learning strategy could be another step.
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Source: Cedefop - National Research Report Austria (bibliographical details see Reference)
Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO