Research, Innovation and Internationalisation

HKU encourages, coordinates and advises in activities in the field of practice-based research and internationalisation.

Research, Innovation and Internationalisation develops policy and advice, and coordinates activities and programmes, in the field of internationalisation. The centre also reinforces practice-based research and innovation at HKU, through developing policy and giving advice and support to professorships and researchers in setting up, conducting and sharing their research. We do this in partnership with education, the professional field and society.

What do we do?

Advice on conducting research and sharing knowledge

How do you ensure that research has an impact on art education, the professional field, society and the knowledge domain? The centre provides support for knowledge-sharing and quality assurance, and their organisation (by peer review, for example), and develops policy in the field of practice-based research in the arts.

We advise professors and researchers on how they can share their results within HKU and with other universities of applied sciences, the creative professional fields and other sectors. This knowledge-sharing (dissemination) can take place in many different ways: from the more “traditional” academic forms to innovative forms in the field of artistic research, as well as through our own publication platform HKU Press. In doing so, we follow the principles of Open Science as far as possible.

Collaboration and acquisition in research

Our knowledge managers focus on the various opportunities and possibilities for innovative practical research. This research is conducted not only in the arts or the creative industry. Artists and designers are working increasingly often in other domains or collaborating with them, using design principles in innovating and improving existing processes. The centre provides advice and support for acquiring research funding and for conducting research.

Internationalisation and partnerships

Art education and research is international, so we focus on creating an international working and learning environment. This involves collaboration with institutions abroad, HKU’s visibility in international (education) networks, the impact of internationalisation on our education, contributions to the development of intercultural competencies in students and staff, the provision of translations and the application of international quality standards.

Innovation Studio

The Innovation Studio is part of the centre. It is where we join with regional, national and international partners to work on innovative projects based on the principle of design thinking. Where possible, these partners are linked to education and research within HKU.

HKU Innovation Studio uses design thinking and design research as a way of contextualising complex issues and solving them in crossovers with education, healthcare and themes like sustainability. Everything revolves around the user. Students participating in these projects are thus able to use their makership in new areas and gain experience in a variety of professional fields.

Collaborative partners

The expertise centre maintains collaborative partnerships for HKU in Europe and the rest of the world. They include public regional partners, cultural institutions and the creative industry, universities in the Netherlands and abroad, and networks like:

  • ELIA (European League of Institutes of the Arts)
  • AEC (Association Européenne des Conservatoires)
  • Cumulus
  • EARN (European Artistic Research Network)
  • ENCATC (European Network for Cultural Art Administration Training Centres)
  • Utrecht Network
  • UASNL (Universities of Applied Sciences NL)
  • ERRIN (European Regional Research & Innovation Network

Our activities


SuNSE - Support Network for Social Entrepreneurs

SuNSE is an ambitious EU project to support social entrepreneurship in areas of economic shrinkage. It combines traditional support models with small-scale innovations, with the aim of creating self-sufficient networks that add many more years of social value and impact. HKU’s role is to conduct research into ways of bringing this subject to life for those concerned, drawing on our experience of interaction design and behavioural change.


HKU is involved in a large-scale plan to make the city of Utrecht more sustainable. In the coming years, HKU staff, lecturers and students will be working with Utrecht residents to help them reduce their energy consumption. The people from HKU will use virtual reality, applied games and design thinking in informing, motivating and inspiring the participants.


Some children develop a mild form of epilepsy, known as absences. IYANTWAY is a transdisciplinary project by film and media artist Maartje Nevejan, in which HKU artists/researchers from the Performative Creative Processes professorship work with children on finding an artistic idiom to express the often frightening and uncomprehended experiences they have during absence seizures. Various strategies and ways of working together are applied, but in all cases the participants become co-authors of the artistic work in some way. The results have provided the participants with alternative ways of communicating with the world about their condition: in images, sounds or spatial experiences, instead of just through language.

Boutiq Foundation

The Boutiq Foundation is an organisation in Uganda that encourages African music and artists. It also organises the Nyege Nyege Festival, an event for cutting-edge music from the African continent. HKU offers Music and Technology students the chance to do an internship with the Boutiq Foundation. Activities include producing music, co-organising the festival and doing creative experiments with local artists.

Living Labs Applied Game Jam

Since 2013, game jams have been held twice a year, alternating between the Netherlands and South Korea. The aim is to develop applied games that help solve social challenges, in the space of 48 hours. The game jams also provide an opportunity for intercultural exchange between the participating students.

Art ≈ Research

KUNST ≈ ONDERZOEK (Art ≈ Research) is the leading platform for research in the arts. The joint venture between art professorships in the Netherlands aims to put research in the arts firmly on the map. The platform acts as a voice and a think tank for art professorships in the current debates on art, research and art education. We formulate common viewpoints and share knowledge on the platform. It also provides conceptual and practical contributions to developing PhD programmes in the arts.


Keep informed of our results, opportunities and developments, by signing up for our English-language Research & Innovation Newsletter.

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Who we are

Our people

  • Marjanne Paardekooper - Director
    Lisette Boeren - Deputy Director, portfolio Internationalisation
    Debbie Straver - portfolio Research
    David Crombie - EU Research Strategy
    Suzan Klaver - Quality Assurance Research, and Publications and Dissemination
    Lotte van Ham - Research support
    Sofieke Opdam - Project Subsidies
    Elise van Berkel - Management Assistant
    Marjolijn van den Berg - Coordinator Research Areas
    Annelie Prins - Coordinator Internationalisation
    Jet Vos - Coordinator Internationalisation
    Liliana Castillo - Coordinator Internationalisation

  • Falk Hübner (2019-2021)
    Arja Veerman (2019-2021)


Research, Innovation and Internationalisation

Telephone: +31 (0)30-2091509


Room 1.44
Nieuwekade 1
3511 RV Utrecht

Postal address

Onderzoek, Innovatie en Internationalisering
Postbus 1520
3500 BM Utrecht