Like most websites, the website of the University of Humanistic Studies uses cookies. Dutch regulations require websites to ask for approval the first time the site is visited. More information

Workplace Education Research Utrecht

  • Start: September 2018 (after a two-year pilot)
  • Status: ongoing
WOU is the abbreviation for Werkplaats Onderwijsonderzoek Utrecht (Workplace Education Research Utrecht), and aims to strengthen a research culture at elementary school in the city by working closely with knowledge institutions. After a grant-funded pilot, organizations involved chose to continue the project for two years by using their own resources.


The working principle of Werkplaats Onderwijsonderzoek Utrecht (WOU) is that a teacher working at an elementary school works in a 'WOU-team' on an educational issue that is relevant to his or her own elementary school. The WOU team includes several colleagues from school, sometimes students, and a researcher from a partner knowledge institution. The premise of WOU is that the school's question guides the focus of the research. 

Since January 2020, there is also the WOU-GO: the Werkplaats Onderwijsonderzoek Utrecht – Gelijke Onderwijskansen (Utrecht Educational Research Workshop - Equal Educational Opportunities). That project is part of WOU and is an extension focused on equal educational opportunities.

For whom exactly?

Schools affiliated with the school boards KSU, PCOU or SPO Utrecht can participate in WOU. The participating knowledge institutions are: Utrecht University, University for Humanistic Studies, Marnix Academy and Hogeschool Utrecht.

What is the purpose of WOU?

The goal of WOU is to strengthen a research culture in schools. Also called evidence-informed working. Through close and equal cooperation between schools and knowledge institutions, the aim is to better connect education and research: strengthening the so-called knowledge infrastructure. In this way, knowledge from research can find its way more smoothly into practice, and knowledge institutions are better informed about the issues that are urgent and live in educational practice, and how knowledge can find its way into that sometimes complex practice.

Pilot (2016-2018)

In Utrecht and in Amsterdam, a group of school boards in primary education, academic universities and universities of applied sciences received a grant through the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO) to conduct a ‘workplace educational research’. The grant was used to run a two-year pilot project dedicated to developing a structural and sustainable connection between education, education development and education research. This pilot with ‘workplaces educational research’ is a joint initiative by the PO-Raad (national sector organisation for primary education) and the NRO.



Three prominent Utrecht school boards (KSU, PCOU and SPO), 5 knowledge institutes (Utrecht University, University of Humanistic Studies, Marnix Academie, HKU and HU).


The first grant in the pilot phase was from the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO).

Also see

Project description Utrecht University


Isolde de Groot,

In this project, we aim to strengthen a research culture at elementary schools in the city by working closely with knowledge institutions.