Research &

Research & Development

Development Theme

Fontys ICT is transforming from an education to a knowledge institute that seeks to contribute to innovation with, by and from ICT professional practice. Applied research plays a prominent role in that. An inquisitive attitude helps (future) professionals keep challenging themselves to come up with innovative solutions for practical problems. In an ideal world, ‘being inquisitive’ is the natural behaviour of every ICT professional and they find themselves in a research culture that reinforces that behaviour.

Tom Langhorst, Project Manager: “Practice-oriented research is developing strongly within higher professional education. But what characterises this type of research and how do we recognise its quality? Academic research has a long tradition, but we are at the beginning, especially when it comes to the integration of research and education. That’s why we worked with the R&D team to create a good basis that contributes to the quality of our research, its positioning, and the transferability of acquired knowledge.” The result is a model with four dimensions and a corresponding set of instruments. This makes quality visible, shapes the dimensions, and enables control.

Teaching method

The dimensions of the model can be viewed on their own, but together they fit into what we call the regulatory cycle. “This creates a natural flow that helps students structure their project and focus on meaningful innovation.” By transferring the model and toolset to education, we developed workshops and teaching material for education developers. For example, the ‘solve problems methodically’ learning pathway helps offer the tools across the entire curriculum. We also contributed to the development of the new Research Based Learning teaching method.”


“The dimensions and tools have an impact on how we approach research. Explicit focus on transferability and valorisation has produced positive effects. But a mind shift was necessary first. The semester structure in education made it complex to carry out longer running research projects well. Now, students no longer always start from scratch, but often based on the results of a previous project. This took some getting used to, but once students start seeing the bigger picture and realise their contribution really matters, reservations give way to ownership. And that is good to see,” says Tom. The emphasis on valorisation made students think about the value they can offer with their project. This helps manage the client’s expectations of yields better.”


“The model and the toolset have given us a good starting point to grow further in our ambition to merge education and research into a knowledge institute. But we are not there yet. There are still a few implementation steps to go before we can truly speak of a research culture.”

Project Manager
Tom Langhorst