Applied Research and Innovation

The Applied Research and Innovation Affinity Group is an established international community of practice. Members share the results and outcomes of applied research projects undertaken by their institutions, as well as exemplary practices related to applied research and innovation.

In 2020, the The Applied Research and Innovation group has been revitalized and is led by Tknika of the Basque Country, Spain. The Group has three co-leads:

  • Unai Ziarsolo (Senior Project Manager at Miguel Altuna VET centre, the Basque Country) 
  • Andrew Williamson (Executive Director – International Education & Enterprise Solutions, Holmesglen InstitueAustralia) 
  • Richard Gale (Director of Camosun Innovates, Camosun College, Canada)  

The goal of the WFCP Affinity Group in Applied Research is to start working in a common understanding of Applied Research in VET from an international perspective. 

The Group is planning to have five meetings in the 2020-2021 Academic Year at a rate of one meeting every two months.  The main goals for the period will be to create a common understanding of the concept of Applied Research in VET and to carry out a mapping of VET institutions who are doing Applied Research.   

The main outputs will be two: 

  • A glossary of Applied Research in VET. 
  • A mapping report showing how VET institutions are doing Applied Research, what they understand as Applied Research, the terminology used by each institution, activities, fields, funding, methodologies, objectives, results, collaborations, programmes, transference activities, difficulties, etc.  

Around June 2021, the group will organise a webinar to share with the wider VET community the results of our work.

To join the group, please fill out the Affinity Group application form.


In the past, the group has collaborated on international projects. In 2015, Northeast Community College in Nebraska collaborated with Fleming College in Ontario on CROP-IT (Conserving Resources: Optimizing Practices using Innovative Technologies), a project to demonstrate the effectiveness of using moisture monitoring probes to influence irrigation methods. The group has focussed projects on mechatronics, drone technology, additive manufacturing, 3D printing applications, composites, in addition to sustainable water management. For the 2018 World Congress, the Applied Research and Innovation group is organizing around some broad themes: the internet of things; application of 3D printing; use of big data by SMEs; sustainable food and water; and, helping SMEs meet the challenges of Industry 4.0.