UASNL - Universities of Applied Sciences Netherlands

Universities become increasingly important in addressing societal challenges. These challenges are seen on all levels, where regional challenges are tackled by applied research, their research and innovations can be transferred to European and even global level.  Universities of Applied Sciences are well equipped to tackle these challenges due to their practice based approach to research and innovation. This approach is problem-oriented, often in a triple or quadruple helix model with society, SME’s and businesses partners. These developments resonate with the views on universities of the future, where cooperation with various partners becomes increasingly important to increase the results and societal impact of research. Applied research contributes to a future-proof labour market and tackles global challenges by addressing them in a practice based regional context. 

The UASNL EU Office in Brussels helps the 14 committed UASNL institutes to increase their profile in Europe, build a strong network and represent the voice of UASNL in the European context. One of the main challenge European funding programmes and policies in research and innovation face is the societal impact, or how to translate fundamental research into benefits for society. UAS have this process in their DNA, and all applied research follows the methodology of connecting research to society, SME’s and public institutions. 

All UASNL institutes are committed to the SDG’s, and they focus on one or more of the societal challenges. The SDG’s act as a strategic guideline from where specific research is being designed. Questions that are being tackled are very diverse, but cover challenges seen in Health, Energy Transition, ICT, Security or Mobility, and often a combination of these. Solutions are developed with relevant industry and societal partners, and often cover the whole scope of technology, from fundamental research design to the testing of prototypes. Next to this technology driven approach, UASNL also work on societal innovation, where community engagement is developed through a similar model as the innovation of new technology. This is essential in applied research, to ensure market acceptance of an innovation, whilst ensuring usability. Some of the topics that the UASNL research teams work on:

  • Health: care and vitality
  • Education and talent development
  • Sustainable society: in the neighbourhood, city and region
  • Smart technology and materials
  • Build environment: sustainable and liveable
  • Sustainable transport and intelligent logistics
  • Sustainable agriculture, water and food provision
  • Energy and energy supply
  • Art and creative industry
  • Responsible and innovative entrepreneurship

Some UAS focus on one of these topics, but often multiple topics are tackled in different research groups within one UAS. All UAS have research groups build around a societal challenge, often with a Center of Expertise (CoE). A CoE is a partnerships which involves one or more UAS, companies, governments and other public organisations. Here they experiment, innovate and invest in societal challenges such as the energy transition, healthy ageing or futureproof sustainable water supplies.
UAS place a strong emphasis on a deep entanglement of providing high-quality higher education, scientific research and social services, which translate into practical training, practical applications and practical innovation. In UAS, knowledge valorisation and practice-oriented scientific research is intertwined with educational activities. Labs, projects, internships and workplace learning are often implemented in the research programmes. This professional orientation during their studies makes the UAS student a useful contributor to the labour market and increases the graduate’s working life and employability skills. In addition, UAS students also participate regularly in practical research tasks that culminate in innovation projects. This provides a win-win situation for both UAS and the employer, who uses the research outcome to improve their product or service.

UASNL members
Please find the individual UASNL members below, with a link to their research website.

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
Amsterdam University of the Arts
ArtEZ University of the Arts
Breda University of Applied Sciences
Fontys University of Applied Sciences
HAN University of Applied Sciences
Hanze University of Applied Sciences
HKU University of the Arts Utrecht
HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht
NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences
Saxion University of Applied Sciences
The Hague University of Applied Sciences
Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences
Zuyd University of Applied Sciences


UASNL is also an active member of UAS4Europe, a Europe wide organisation for Universities of Applied Sciences. You can find more information here