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The “Interaction between Higher Education Research and Higher Education Development: Empiricism, Transfer and Impact” is the topic of this year’s conference of the Gesellschaft für Hochschulforschung (GfHf). Interested contributors have until 31 March 2023 to submit abstracts for talks, symposia and poster presentations. Contributions are welcome in German or English. The conference will take place at Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences from 11 to 13 September 2023.

In spite of the different roles and approaches taken in higher education research and higher education development, there are a number of overlaps. These overlaps include the shared focus on the organisational type of “higher education institutions” and the central importance of data and evidence-basing. Higher education research is a theory-driven area of science in which research topics usually have a direct connection to the systematic development of research, teaching and learning, continuing education and the Third Mission in higher education institutions (HEIs), as well as their management. Given its more empirical focus, higher education research is often linked to a specific context of application. This alone does not automatically mean that the knowledge generated is directly linked to university practice. Nevertheless, studies that can help solve specific problems have a high priority in the context of higher education research, meaning that there is a basic connectivity between research and university practice.

On that basis, the 18th Annual Conference of the GfHf is concerned with the interaction between these two areas, understood as a process of mutual exchange. On the one hand, the focus is on the data obtained from higher education research; its transfer to university practice; and the impact generated as a result. In particular, university executives and managers in science and administration are dependent on an evidence base in their discussions and decisions. To this end, they do not only receive results from higher education research, but also conduct their own surveys and institutional research. In this context, theoretically reflective higher education research can help to critically question the use of data for university management.

On the other hand, light is to be shed on the impetus (potentially) coming from university practice for higher education research. In the process, it is important to reflect on how close the link should be between higher education research and university practice in order to be beneficial. The scope ranges from views that revolve around application orientation to other views that tend to see an excessively close relationship between higher education research and its subject area as a problem.

For more information on the Call for Papers, visit the conference website. Submissions related to the thematic areas stated on the website can be made at As every year, there will also be an Open Track, enabling scholars to prese research that is not directly related to one of the conference topics.

The conference programme and a Book of Abstracts will be published in early June 2023. The CHE Centre for Higher Education is responsible for organising the conference.