The Research Centre studies and critically analyses education and training in social context and it monitors and evaluates education and training policies that impact on and respond to social change. Contemporary modernisation gives rise to a plethora of basic questions regarding the structure, contextualisation, localisation, realisation and effects of teaching and learning processes both for the formation of subjectivities as well as in social context. Against this backdrop, structural and cultural changes in generational and gender relations and in the social construction of the lifecourse play key roles in all kinds of education and training.

In view of an emerging multicultural and multiethnic Europe together with the impact of globalisation on cultural pluralisation and structural economic change, this Research Centre’s focus is comparative and intercultural. By engaging in relevant, up-to-date research, its work seeks to document and understand current patterns of change and/or the interactions between these and education/training. The Centre also places the transfer potential of research results at the core of its concern, especially with a view to what these can contribute not only to the development of educational science but also to the quest for quality assurance and the continuous improvement of educational quality on the ground.

Responding to these issues demands a sound mix of basic and applied research on such questions as the following:

  • Which approaches and settings are prerequisites for positive transitions to knowledge societies? How can we make optimal use of the entire range comprised by informal, non-formal and formal learning? How are different kinds of learning connected with individual and social developmental dynamics? What are the implications for teaching/training and learning across the full spectrum of educational settings and institutional environments?
  • What kinds of learning are implicated in generational relations and relationships at micro and macro levels and what kinds of educational strategies and settings are meaningful and effective here?
  • How do people develop specific competences, be they vocational or social, (inter)cultural or political, and including practical life management competence, in particular with a view to fostering active and democratic citizenship and subjectivities viable for contemporary life?
  • How can educational action support social change and development and/or adequately and effectively address social needs – in particular with a view to a living in multicultural and multiethnic societies that generate new kinds of social, economic and political tensions?