About the project
As a field of study „higher education research‟ has been rather fragmented in Norway, as has also been referred to in the work programme 2009-2018 for Utdanning 2020. In recent years a number of initiatives have been started to achieve more integration, notably the establishment of NATED (Norwegian Graduate School for Educational Research). However, major methodological and conceptual challenges need to be addressed to achieve greater integration. This pre project aims to contribute to handling these challenges, by linking two of the most important research units involved in research on higher education in Norway, i.e. the Institute for Educational Research (Faculty of Education) and Arena, Centre for European Studies (Social Science Faculty) of the University of Oslo.
The project puts focus on two core concepts - the concept of knowledge culture and the concept of institution and addresses the challenges in integrating these two perspectives. The main starting point is that the two approaches show common ground and a potential to strenghten each other.
The objectives for the pre project are thus focusing on three aspects:
- First, the two research groups represent different research traditions with different disciplinary backgrounds, and specific theoretical and methodological approaches. Even though recently they have begun to explore the possibilities of cooperation, there is still a lot of work to be done in integrating their theoretical and methodological approaches in such a way that they can become the basis for larger joint research projects. The pre-project will produce a position paper for this type of cooperation
- Second, one of the main intentions of the pre project is to prepare a proposal for a large research project in the Utdanning 2020 programme, as well as to prepare international applications, amongst other things, under the EU‟s 7FP priority areas “Science in Society” and “Socio-economic sciences and the humanities” (SSH).
- Third, the pre project will be used to form a larger consortium with the two mentioned UiO research units as the core. This larger consortium will include additional Norwegian research units and individual researchers, as well as international partners, and will be involved in the application for (and implementation of) the Utdanning 2020 and FP7 research projects.
The main aim of the proposed pre project is to further develop the recently started research corporation aimed at studying the interactive relationship between the role of knowledge and its institutions, and political and societal transformations in Europe that Norwegian higher education is embedded in.
The main outcome of the project will thus be:
- State of the art review of two sub-areas in higher education research, i.e. Professional Learning and Higher Education, and The Europe of Knowledge (or European Integration and Higher Education). In addition to a state of the art overview of the relevant literature and studies in the two areas, the review will also discuss the main conceptual, methodological and empirical foundations for the intended cooperation between the two research groups, and the consortium to be developed.
For the purpose of this pre project the two most relevant projects funded by the Research Council of Norway are the strategic research initiative “Learning Trajectories in Knowledge Economies” (the LIKE project at the Institute for Educational Research), and “The Transformation and Sustainability of European Political Order” (the EuroTrans project at Arena). These projects also form a basis for cooperation.
As such a cooperation of these two groups can be expected to result in an important strengthening of the Norwegian research capacity with respect to higher education through linking expertise on Professional Learning with expertise on European Integration and the Governance of Higher Education. The EIE research groupå has functioned as a bridge between the two projects and involved researchers.
The project is funded by Research Council of Norway within the "Education 2020" (Utdanning 2020) framework.
The report can be downloaded in three parts: