Striving for Differentiation: Ambiguities of the Applied Research Mandate in Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences

Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 31)


In the European non-university higher education landscape, the Swiss universities of applied sciences represent a very specific case, since from their creation in 1997 these institutions received a research mandate and the development of research was considered as one of the key objectives in the transformation of vocational schools in higher education institutions. Moreover, the research mandate of UASs was clearly distinct from universities, being focused on applied research and transfer of knowledge to private companies. Hence, it was an integral component of the binary divide and helped to distinguish the two sectors rather than to promote their convergence like in other countries. Moreover, in the second half of the 1990s, the Swiss state launched a number of initiatives and support measures to promote research in UASs, since these institutions started with a very low level of research activities. This chapter shows that this policy was quite successful and after a few years Swiss UASs grew into significant research actors, at least in technology.


Private Company Subject Domain Swiss National Science Foundation Research Competence Binary Divide 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics, Centre for Organizational ResearchUniversity of LuganoLuganoSwitzerland

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