Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences: Changing research contexts. Collaborating with Nonacademic Societal Partners in Research Based Bachelors project

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterProfessional


Academic research and knowledge construction is increasingly organised in collaboration with nonacademic partners and geared towards solving societal challenges. This chapter asks what such a context and explicit collaboration with a nonacademic societal partner means for research in the bachelor’s phase. It discusses 5 years of a marble project developed in close collaboration with external partners along the lines of a number of continuums identified in education literature (student, staff, or external partner initiated; academic relevance versus relevance for the external partner; product versus process centred; curriculum based or not; larger or smaller groups). The chapter states that such research-based bachelor’s projects provide both opportunities and challenges and involve trade-offs. Students engaged in such projects learn academic and professional skills that are less prominent in non-collaborative academic projects. The collaboration with an external partner is likely to lead to an emphasis on knowledge utilisation (by the students and the external partner) in addition to – and sometimes perhaps in tension with – academic relevance. In terms of continuums, it turns out that the collaboration itself, the intensity of the collaboration, and the duration of the collaboration matter more to the content and setup of a project than which actor initiated the research. To what extent research-based bachelor’s projects in collaboration with a nonacademic partner are feasible, preferable, or acceptable depends on what one wants students to learn and to what extent knowledge utilisation should be part of undergraduate research.keywordsacademic relevancecollaborationknowledge utilisationmode 2research-based learningsocietal relevanceundergraduate research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch-Based learning: Case-studies from Maastricht Universit
EditorsE. Bastiaens, J. van Tilburg, J. van Merriënboer
Place of PublicationHeidelberg
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

SeriesProfessional Learning and Development in Schools and Higher Education

Cite this