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. The Group is led by Tknika in the Basque Country, a centre promoted by the Deputy Ministry of Vocational Education and Training (VET) of the Education Department of the Basque Government. Through networking and direct involvement by the Basque Vocational Training teaching staff, the Centre develops innovative projects in the areas of technology, education and management. The Group has three co-leads:
- Unai Ziarsolo (International Project Manager at Tknika, Basque VET Applied Research Centre, Basque Country)
- Andrew Williamson (Executive Director – International Education & Enterprise Solutions, Holmesglen Institute, Australia)
- Richard Gale (Director of Camosun Innovates, Camosun College, Canada)
The Applied Research and Innovation Affinity Group supports collaborative excellence and a common understanding of Applied Research in VET from an international perspective through regular bi-monthly meetings, Webinars and conference sessions, publications and presentations, and shared projects. As this Affinity Group expands its international membership, it is also developing member resources including:
- Applied Research Glossary Project – a living document providing comparative data on how applied research is classified, communicated, explained, and understood across international borders.
- Applied Research Mapping Project – a landscape survey of how VET institutions approach applied research in terms of activities, collaborations, fields of study, knowledge transfer, methodologies, nomenclature, outcomes, resources, student learning, and technology adoption.
- Applied Research Webinar Series – 90-minute webinars that offer dialogue and insight focused on the conduct of applied research amongst the membership, each including information on the above-mentioned projects, case studies of member institutions, and a keynote presentation focusing on an important aspect of the work we all share. The last webinar took place in late November 2021.
- Applied Research Affinity Group Sessions – conference sessions collaboratively organized for remote and in-person gatherings devoted to applied research amongst colleges, institutes, and polytechnics. Look for Group sessions at the WFCP 2022 Congress in Donostia-San Sebastián, the Basque Country (Spain), June 13-17, 2022.
To join the Applied Research and Innovation Affinity Group, please fill out the Affinity Group application form.
Past international projects include:
- 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 organized around the themes of 1) the internet of things; 2) application of 3D printing; 3) the use of big data by SMEs; 4) sustainable food and water; and, 5) helping SMEs meet the challenges of Industry 4.0.