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About CHEF

The Centre for Higher Education Futures (CHEF) is based in the Danish School of Education (DPU), Aarhus University at Campus Emdrup in Copenhagen, and is formed in conjunction with the Danish School of Education, Aarhus Campus and the Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media (CUDiM), Aarhus University.


The centre aims to:

  • Research the internationally transforming mandates and organization of universities and higher education
  • Provide students, faculty, university administrators, university leaders and the higher education policy community with an internationally linked and research-informed space for meta-analysis and reflexive thinking about higher education.
  • Be a site for national and international research and experiments on new models for higher education and its institutional forms.

Roles and activities

The centre will fulfil this ambition through four roles and associated activities:

  1. International networking
    • International collegiality
      CHEF members’ extensive international networks will be maintained and extended through collaboration on projects, exchanging draft papers for comment and co-authorship of publications.
    • Future collaborations
      Wherever possible, new projects will include 2-3 international experts who are fully integrated into all phases of the research.
    • Sister centres
      CHEF will establish links, share information and organise scholarly exchanges with ‘sister centres’ on critical studies of higher education around the world.
  2. Facilitator of projects and collaborations
    • Inspiring research
      In seminars, workshops and conferences, CHEF will establish a platform for integrating research on its three themes (below) and inspire high quality, locally relevant and internationally recognised research on current and future developments in higher education.
    • Research support
      CHEF will organize ‘low key’ activities to support members in developing their ideas for new projects and to discuss work in progress, as well as organizing ‘high key’ national conferences and sessions at relevant international conferences.
    • Experimental designs
      For research on higher education that engages with the agendas driving its transformation. CHEF will facilitate an explosion of methodological energy to combine criticality with outreach, involves stakeholders in research design and creates new publics around projects.
  3. Project hotel
    • Linked projects
      Core Members link a number of existing projects into the CHEF agenda and numerous new project ideas have been formulated at the initial CHEF meetings and will be developed. Linked projects contribute to CHEF’s activities, gain from CHEF’s networks and collaboration, and disseminate through the CHEF platform.
    • Future research
      Projects will range from nationally and internationally funded research, research-based development projects, and commissioned research.  CHEF may also carry out research on Aarhus University’s own activities and inspire or support its organization and education.
  4. Critical and constructive proponent of public debate
    • Dialogue with policy makers
      To address the current gap between critical higher education research and policy processes nationally and internationally, CHEF’s projects and faculty will connect with policy processes and actors of all hues. By maintaining a critical research base and meta-perspective yet be capable of ‘rapid response’, the Centre aims to engage stakeholders in discussion of emerging issues and be a natural and felt presence in the higher education policy community.
    • Public dissemination
      The Centre will engage the wider public through an active presence in Danish and international media, as well as maintaining an open door to its activities through its website, newsletters, a working paper series, and being active on social media platforms.
    • Teaching and graduate research opportunities
      The Centre will contribute to DPU/ARTS’ master degree programmes and graduate school and by proactive modelling of government’s ‘elite’ initiative it will develop new formats for structured graduate research opportunities and integrated research and teaching.
    • Summer school
      An annual summer school (funding permitting) will bring together current and former researchers and our network of international experts and stakeholders to explore how universities’ new mandates are unfolding and create a critical and constructive dialogue with all concerned. The aim is to make this summer school a highly anticipated annual event on the international calendar.