Applied research at the AUAS

Interweaving education and research

Research is extremely important at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS). All of our degree programmes integrate practice-based research, techniques and methodology into their curricula. As a result, students acquire a critical, investigative attitude that enables them to maintain their professional expertise long after graduation. Knowledge gained in the field provides valuable input that directly boosts the quality of our educational programmes, ensuring the continuous interweaving of education and research at the AUAS.

Innovation in professional practice

By means of applied research, the AUAS directly contributes to professional innovation in diverse sectors. This practice-based research always seeks solutions to current issues in the Amsterdam metropolitan area. We collaborate with a wide range of partners in the city – from businesses to social organisations and other higher education institutions – to develop knowledge around key themes focused on social and economic development in Amsterdam.

Applied research at the AUAS contributes to the education of better professionals, for various reasons:

  • The developed knowledge is used directly in the degree programmes, giving students access to state-of-the-art insights about the future of their particular field.
  • By conducting research assignments, students gain valuable research skills such as critical thinking, information analysis and research methodology.

AUAS alumni are aware that the world is constantly changing. Thanks to their investigative attitude, they are well equipped to keep their sector expertise up to date and to adapt to changes in their field, continuously integrating new insights into their professional practice.

Urban expertise

Research at the AUAS is clustered in Centres of Expertise (CoEs), which focus on addressing current issues in Amsterdam. Each strategic theme relates to an urban topic that is vitally important to the Amsterdam metropolitan region.

The AUAS works closely with a number of partners in the execution of its research:

  • Amsterdam-based businesses (for example, via the Amsterdam Economic Board)
  • Social and governmental organisations
  • Our peers: Amsterdam-based knowledge institutions.

International research

The Netherlands is renowned for offering high-quality education in an international, open and connected society. This too applies to our research – the Netherlands consistently ranks near the top of the Global Innovation Index. While internationalisation at our institution primarily refers to ‘internationalisation at home’, international research and partnerships are becoming increasingly important the AUAS.

European presence

We maintain that collaborating across borders improves both the impact and quality of our research. Our drive to extend our societal impact beyond the city of Amsterdam saw us spearhead the U!REKA consortium, which was created in 2016 and has evolved from a network of seven higher education institutions across Europe to become an official Erasmus+ European University Alliance in 2024.

We work closely with key stakeholders, such as higher education institutions, companies and social organisations, in diverse international projects. Our role in such projects takes various forms, from coordinator to partner as we work together to generate impact across Europe through our relevant applied research.

AUAS is also a member of UASNL, a collaboration of 19 Dutch Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS), who work together to strengthen their European research profile. Through its EU office in Brussels, UASNL contributes to policy developments, builds European partnerships and shows the value of applied research in answering the challenges Europe faces.

At the European level, AUAS is also an active member of UAS4EUROPE, a networking and knowledge exchange platform in the field of applied research and innovation, representing some 450 European universities of applied sciences.

While securing research funding at the national level through the Dutch Research Council (NWO) and the Taskforce for Applied Research (SIA) remains our key focus at the AUAS, we also actively participate in European research programmes, which are an increasingly important source of funding for our research. These programmes include Erasmus+, Interreg and Horizon 2020.

The AUAS actively participates in European research projects, many of which are subsidised by the Erasmus+ programme. This is the European Union’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe. With a budget of €14.7 billion, this programme provide opportunities for some 4 million Europeans to gain valuable education and training abroad.

Examples of our Erasmus+ research in action include:

SCORES: An initiative within the field of Dual Careers (DC) of athletes, tackling employability and supporting services for young athletes seeking careers outside the sport field.

Cities including children: International partners working together to develop social inclusion, intercultural competences and to combat discrimination and segregation in cities.

STARTING 11: The creation of online tools to facilitate and professionalise the implementation of dual career services in Europe.

A key European research instrument that aims to boost cross-regional partnerships, Interreg has a budget of some €10.1 billion (2014-2020). We actively participate in a variety of Interreg programmes, such as:

SEE4-CITY: An innovative project focusing on electric mobility solutions, integrating renewable-energy sources and encouraging take-up in five European cities.

ABCitiEs: Research into how policy can be organised in such a way as to provide optimum support for cooperating entrepreneurs in urban areas.

HeatNet: Investigating fourth-generation heating networks in six Northern European cities.

Cool Towns: Helping European municipalities tackle the problem of heat stress in cities.

Empower 2.0: A project that seeks to empower citizens to play an active role in the energy market.

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 was the European Union’s biggest research-and innovation programme. Its budget spans some €74 billion (2014-2020). In addition to our completed CIVIC and Me2 projects, the AUAS is currently involved in the following Horizon 2020 projects:

SHUTTLE: Our Forensic Science degree programme is a partner in this large-scale project, which is developing a toolkit that will make it possible to analyse fibres collected after a crime in a uniform manner.

Atelier: This project aims to provide knowledge and teaching materials on energy transition in the city, and has secured €19.5 million in funding via the Horizon 2020 programme.

Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the current European framework programme for research and innovation, running from 2021 – 2027. AUAS is currently involved in the following Horizon Europe projects:

CrAFt: Creating Actionable Futures (CrAFt) is part of the European Union’s New European Bauhaus (NEB) initiative and aims to develop a new approach to delivering climate neutrality and the European Green Deal. This EU project involves three AUAS Centres of Expertise and four research groups.

EPIC-WE: Kicking off in 2023, more information will follow soon about this project, focusing on youth imagining, creating and exchanging cultural values and heritage through game-making.

AUAS Rector Geleyn Meijer discusses the potential of the Horizon Europe EU financing programme and how the university of applied sciences is ready to contribute.

Published by  Communication 23 January 2024