In recent years, Universities of Applied Sciences have built a strong foundation for research. Now more than ever we must work to strengthen applied research, because we are facing major societal transitions in the areas of climate change, health, safety, digitisation and social equality. Research plays an important role in navigating these transitions.
The further development from a University of Applied Sciences to a knowledge institute is of great value for the contribution that the universities make to social transitions.
The 36 Universities of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands have nearly 700 professors and are strongly anchored in the region. Financial resources have grown to 265 million euros and human resources have grown to nearly 6,400 researchers, with a total research effort of over 2,100 fte. Although applied research has been given a place in the research landscape of the Netherlands, the potential of research at Universities of Applied Sciences has not yet been fully appreciated.
Societies as a whole, including actors in the LTH domain, face an enormous challenge: to assure the effective transition towards more sustainable modes of interaction, production and consumption. Innovations in digitalization, communication and robotics should be supportive to this overarching transition process. The LTH domain is responsible for high levels of CO2 emissions, high levels of non-regenerative resource use, and sociocultural erosion. At the same time, it allows societies to connect, trade, and to learn from each other. The increased complexity and dynamics of the context in which LTH actors develop, are challenging but also offer opportunities. These can only be addressed in an interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary manner. Therefore eight cross-sectoral themes have been identified for development of new knowledge and interventions by PDs.
During the 4 years pilot phase from 2023 to 2027, an initial number of 17 candidates will be allowed to start their PD trajectory in one of the seven participating Universities of Applied Sciences. In the first year 3 candidates can start with their PD. In the following 3 years 4 to 5 candidates can start each year.
The seven Universities of Applied Sciences that offer a PD in our domain are: