Evaluation of the funding programme "Advancement through Education: Open Universities"

Start of the project: 01-Jul-2012 - End of the project: 31-Dec-2020

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The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in cooperation with the 16 federal states launched a funding programme "Advancement through Education: Open Universities" (Aufstieg durch Bildung: offene Hochschulen), which funds competitively selected higher education institutions (HEIs) with around 250 million euros. The programme is financed for the overall funding period from 2011 to 2020. It comprises two tranches of funding: the first tranche is financed from 2011 to 2017 and the second tranche from 2014 to 2020. The first tranche encompasses 26 single and joint R&D projects while the second tranche is even larger, consisting of 47 single and joint R&D projects. The Governance of Continuing Higher Education research unit was commissioned to evaluate this funding programme.

The evaluation aims to analyse the design of the funding programme "Advancement through Education: Open Universities" in relation to its aims and its initial effects on continuing education in HEIs. For example, the findings give hints on how the funding programme could be developed further as a "learning programme". Measuring the aims of the funding programme and the developments in academic continuing education and lifelong learning in Germany - including European and international developments - are also in the focus of the investigation.

In the evaluation of the R&D projects the focus lies on the questions of whether the R&D projects are likely to reach their defined aims, and whether the study programmes developed for non-traditional students are being introduced on a regular basis. This opens up larger questions which examine further aspects, such as the establishment of sustainable continuing education structures in HEIs, with the related challenges and side effects. The evaluation of the first funding phase has an impact on the decisions regarding the second funding phase.

The evaluation applies a mixed-methods approach to data generation, i.e. a qualitative evaluation design combined with quantitative survey methods. To evaluate the R&D projects, we apply methods such as expert interviews with project leaders and with university (vice-)presidents of the participating HEIs. Further, quantitative surveys are conducted with the project staff, with the participants of the newly developed study programmes and with collaborators on the projects.

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10 Jahre Offene Hochschule Niedersachsen - eine kritische Reflexion mit Blick in die Zukunft.

Freitag, W. (2020, September).
10 Jahre Offene Hochschule Niedersachsen - eine kritische Reflexion mit Blick in die Zukunft. Vortrag auf der Konferenz der Arbeitsgruppe "Offene Hochschule Niedersachsen", Agentur für Erwachsenen- und Weiterbildung; Offene Hochschule Niedersachsen; Hannover.

Lead Researcher

Walburga Katharina Freitag
Dr. Walburga Katharina Freitag Lead Researcher +49 511 450670-392


Julia Meier-Brzoska
Julia Meier-Brzoska +49 511 450670-388


Adisa Be¨irović Dr. Jürgen Brünjes Eva-Maria Danzeglocke Magnus Herrmann Dr. Susanne Jaudzims Jonas Koopmann Veronika Rückamp Erik Schwartz Linda Sterzik Daniel Völk


Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung