Department for

Higher Education Research and Development


Why do extracurricular activities matter? Online Event on Oct. 17th, 2023

We cordially invite you to an online event of our project "UNICOMM - University Community Active Participation Project " on Oct. 17th, 2023. Get more information.


The European Higher Education Society met in Linz in 2023

The 45th annual conference of the EAIR (European Higher Education Society) took place at the Linz campus of the Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences from 3 to 6 September 2023. The academic conference, which welcomed 190 participants from 30 nations around the world - from Australia, Japan, South Africa and the USA to Finland - was organised by the Department for Higher Education Research and Development. Find out more!



Founded in 2012, FH Upper Austria’s Department for Higher Education Research andDevelopment (HERD) has been pursuing an innovative approach of university development – it focuses on an informed nexus of higher education studies and organizational development.

The field of higher education studies (HES) has been analysing higher education (HE) systems and organizations since the 1960s. However, while European and national policy makers increasingly consider its findings, HE management has so far taken little notice of the field. FH Upper Austria has broken the mould by utilizing HES’ potentials to support evidence-based management decisions.

HERD conducts studies that consider and reveal universities of applied sciences (UAS)’ features as specific HE institutions. Despite being on par with traditional universities, UAS’ are still different to them, especially due to their focus on vocational teaching, their emphasis on applied research or their close ties to regional industry and social community. HERD considers these particularities and, in doing so, breaks up some antiquated or undifferentiated norms and images of higher education and research.

HERD undertakes research on higher education leadership & management, organizational & staff development, diversity, research & development and teaching & learning. It analyses changes in national, European and global higher education and science concerning their relevance for UAS and interprets them for HE policymaking and management. Hence, inspired by the idea of institutional research and based on knowledge gained in its research activities, HERD supports FH Upper Austria’s management team and staff in strategic and informed decision making. It frequently collaborates with the departments for human resources, quality management, diversity management and teaching development. In turn, these collaborations and daily questions concerning the academic lifecycle at FH Upper Austria inspire HERD’s research interests. What are the current challenges rising in the institution? How can HERD support staff and management in coping with them? These considerations are essential stimuli for research interests and future projects.