A strong, positive connection between research and education is a premise for quality in the educational programmes at a university, as well as contributing to ensuring that good students are recruited into research. When planning for the development of research activity at UIA, it is therefore necessary to ensure that this connection remains strong and relevant. The development of strong research environments cannot be seen in isolation from the programmes we offer – which is also the case when recruiting.
Some of the educational programmes that UIA offers have large student year groups, such as economics, teacher training, nursing education, and engineering. Exactly how much research activity is connected to these varies, and there is a need to increase research activity in certain fields. The level of the research also has improvement potential so that it can approach national and international levels. In recent years, UIA has focused in particular on forging closer links between teacher training, nursing education and social worker education through the establishment of an internal, professions-oriented network – PRONETT – and a professions-oriented researcher school in a collaboration between UIA and UiN – PROFRES. This has, amongst other things, contributed to collaboration concerning methods in the researcher school.
Research related to teacher training is carried out in many research groups at UIA (2017: 19 groups), but there is little interaction between the different research groups. The Teacher Training Unit coordinates the teacher training itself, but there is little coordination of the teacher training-related research activities.
UIA has established a support scheme for this in order to draw students more closely into research projects. It is too early at this point to assess this scheme, but suffice to say that the academic environments use it actively. The students give it positive feedback.
Where do we want to be? – Vision for 2027
In 2027, there is a good interrelationship between our study portfolio on the one hand and the research portfolio on the other. We shall have solid research within our educational areas. In some of these, we wish to have internationally leading academic environments. Such an environment will not necessary develop in line with the educational programme – it might also be ahead of the game, and pave the way for new studies. It shall nonetheless be an aim that the education and research portfolio will become synchronised in the long term. In some areas, UIA shall have excellent environments in both education and research. In all areas, it is important that the development of the study and research portfolio is seen in connection with the recruitment of academic staff and their career development. Teacher training-related research and research within nursing and social work training have become more effective and better coordinated. Research on one’s own educational programmes and teaching contribute not only to the development of UIA’s studies, but also to developing education and teaching internationally.
At an early stage in the course of their studies, students become actively acquainted with research activities such that everyone gains a good understanding of research methods and the significance of research. Particularly talented students are discovered early on and provided with good opportunities to continue a possible research career. Integrated PhD education is used actively as an opportunity to encourage the best master’s students to start a doctoral programme.
What must be done to arrive at this stage? – Measures for the years to come
How teacher training-related research is to be coordinated in the future requires clarification.
UIA’s focus on vocational subjects must be assessed and future measures discussed.
The efforts in place to recruit students to research projects is to continue.
The option to utilise integrated PhD programmes is to be actively pursued on all PhD programmes.
Areas in which UIA has the potential to achieve excellence in both education and research should be identified. These areas are to be strengthened with regard to SFF/SFI/SFU status in the long term.
Opportunities for a combination of, and synergies between, different sources of funding within Horizon 2020 such as for example, Marie Sklodovska Curie Actions and Erasmus+, must be better utilised.