The Flexible Professional in the Knowledge Society (completed 2008)

Researchers

  • Oliver Bracht
  • Harald Schomburg
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Teichler

Period

  • 2004 - 2008

Funding

  • EU Commission


As Europe and the rest of the world moves towards a knowledge society, an effective system of higher education is increasingly important for the economy and society. However, ambiguity as to the meaning of the knowledge society is reflected in tensions in demands made of higher education graduates who are expected to fulfill key positions in the knowledge society. These graduates need to possess the advanced specialized knowledge and skills required of modern high-level professionals, but are also often expected to be highly flexible and adaptable, able and willing to take up challenges not closely related to the specific field in which they have been trained. The knowledge society appears to require a new kind of worker: the flexible professional.

The REFLEX project focused on three broad and interrelated questions:

  1. What competencies are required by higher education graduates in order to function adequately in the knowledge society?
  2. What role is played by higher education institutions in helping graduates to develop these competencies? 
  3. What tensions arise as graduates, higher education institutions, employers and other key players each strive to meet their own objectives, and how can these tensions be resolved?

The REFLEX project has been carried out in altogether sixteen different countries and consisted of a large scale survey among some 70,000 graduates.

The REFLEX project was financed as a Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP) of the European Union’s Sixth Framework Programme. The project involved partners from fourteen countries (Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the UK plus Belgium-Flanders, Czech Republic, Portugal, Switzerland and Japan that have received funding from national sources).It was co-ordinated by the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market, Maastricht University (NL).

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Project Output

Allen, Jim; van der Velden, R. K. W.  (Hg.) (207): The Flexible Professional in the Knowledge Society. General Results of the REFLEX Project. Maastricht; ROA.

Allen, Jim; van der Velden, R. K. W.  (2011): The Flexible Professional in the Knowledge Society. New challenges for higher education. Dordrecht; New York: Springer.

Schomburg, Harald (2007): Chapter 2. The Professional Work of Graduates. In: Allen, Jim; van der Velden, R. K. W.  (Hg.) : The Flexible Professional in the Knowledge Society. General Results of the REFLEX Project. Maastricht; ROA, pp. 57-91.

Teichler, Ulrich (2007): Chapter 6. International Dimensions of Higher Education and Graduate Employment. In: Allen, Jim; van der Velden, R. K. W.  (Hg.) : The Flexible Professional in the Knowledge Society. General Results of the REFLEX Project. Maastricht; ROA, pp. 199-220.