Strategy 2020 for Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science


Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science (HiOA) is unique in a national context due to its wide range of professional programmes, its close ties with the respective fields of practice, and the opportunities it offers to specialise at both master’s degree and PhD levels. HiOA is well equipped to make important contributions to resolving the challenges faced by society.

HiOA's strategic plan is founded on the strategy documents that formed the basis for the merger between Akershus University College and Oslo University College in 2011, national guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education and Research, and analyses of regional, national and global conditions.


New knowledge, new practice

HiOA is the country's largest state university college and offers a unique range of professional programmes. The main emphasis is on programmes that qualify students for professions that will contribute to future welfare and value creation.

HiOA will create value for individuals and contribute to knowledge development in society as a whole. We will contribute to future welfare and value creation by educating practitioners with high levels of professional ability and high-impact skill sets, and facilitate lifelong learning by providing continuing and further education. We will develop relevant knowledge by researching problems within and between the professions and by developing new products and services. This will provide HiOA with good opportunity to influence welfare policy and to serve as an important contributor to policy making by decision-making bodies.

Requirements for new knowledge and new services are at the crossroads between the established disciplines and the professions. There is a need to educate well-qualified, professional practitioners with sound professional knowledge and cooperative and change management skills. Through dialogue and cooperation between research, education, society, business and industry, results and expertise are shared and solutions are created for a continuously changing world.

Close cooperation with the fields of practice will bring new knowledge and new practice into a world that is facing new challenges.

Strategy for achieving university status as a tool for raising standards

Changes within higher education are called for to enable us to meet society's needs at the regional, national and international level.

The strategy for achieving university status is a tool for raising standards in professional disciplines by linking them to the knowledge development taking place in relevant research and development, both nationally and internationally. University status would afford the academic freedom and necessary leverage to meet the important research and educational needs of the society. We will create strong research communities and research training programmes. The institution’s research and education communities will increase their level of participation and win recognition in national and international knowledge networks.

The professional programmes will form the foundation of the new university. Status as a university will afford the freedom to develop coherent educational programmes at all levels. We will strengthen the quality of our programmes at all levels by means of stronger ties to research and development, more emphasis on research, and continued development of our academic culture.

High quality scientific and professional activities is the overriding goal and value to which the new institution will aspire, and which will serve as a guiding principle for developing its knowledge culture, organisation and reputation. Development of our platform of knowledge for the professions and our future status as a university will strengthen the opportunities available to us to position ourselves in a world characterised by the increasing internationalisation of research and higher education.

To work towards "new knowledge, new practice" is HiOA's approach to creating values in society. The left-hand side of the illustration below shows some of society's needs for knowledge and expertise and how HiOA intends to meet those needs and contribute to value creation for society and for individuals.

Strategy model


"Knowledge, critical reflection, source criticism, scientific method, and the exchange of ideas are core values in higher education and research. These are also values that act as a counterbalance to prejudice and ignorance that can result in fear and hate." (Ministry of Education and Research, Proposition to the Storting 1 S (2011–2012)).

The core values that are highlighted by the Ministry of Education and Research apply to all institutions of higher education and research and must be adopted as a guiding principle in their work.

In addition to these core values, HiOA also has its own three values reflecting the organisation's culture and priorities. Along with the vision and goals we have set, these values give direction for our work and characterise our employees in their dealings with partners, colleagues and students.


HiOA is a metropolitan institution, located in a region whose demographic structure is more diverse than that of other regions in Norway. This diversity gives us an advantage in understanding and reaping the benefits of diversity. We will stimulate equality and expect tolerance of the life philosophy, cultural background and gender of others.


Proximity to working life and entrenchment in research and development provide valuable insights into the creation of new knowledge. Our knowledge and experience will contribute to learning and renewal in our programmes and in developing our institution and our employees and students as individuals.


The interaction between society and professionally oriented programmes and professionally relevant research and development provides valuable knowledge and experience. We will approach business and society with an inquisitive and open mind, and develop new knowledge that gives answers to future challenges.   


Society's needs for knowledge and expertise are continually changing due to globalisation, demographic trends, technological developments, and the need for new products and services. Professions and professional practice has developed and transformed into science in the tension between disciplinary tradition and scientific and research-based methods and tools. To address these developments, HiOA must offer attractive, research-based professional programmes that are based on relevant and up-to-date platform of knowledge and innovative methodologies and teaching aids. This entails developing academic communities and programme portfolios to ensure relevant knowledge, a stimulating learning environment and a high level of learning outcomes for our students.

The competition for students in the international education market is intensifying. HiOA will educate talented candidates who satisfy society's need for a qualified workforce, but will also give individuals opportunities for personal development, to acquire the knowledge they need to participate in society, and to realise their dreams and goals.

HiOA’s academic strong point is on the professional programmes at bachelor's degree level. Projections indicate that there will be a substantial demand for skilled workforces in areas such as kindergartens and schools, health and social services, finance, management, and technology ("Supply of and demand for a higher-educated workforce towards 2020" Report December 2010 issued by the Ministry of Education and Research). These areas will therefore be given priority when expanding our educational capacity.


HiOA will be internationally recognised for its professional programmes.

HiOA will:

  • Give priority to future growth in HiOA's educational capacity within the areas of kindergartens and schools, health and social services, finance, management, and technology.
  • Educate ethically aware and critically reflective candidates with high levels of disciplinary and change management skills.
  • Develop strong links between education, research and development, and working life in order to strengthen the quality and relevance of our programmes and the learning outcomes of the students.
  • Cooperate internationally on programmes at all levels, and offer integrated courses of study that hold high levels of quality and student throughput.
  • Emphasis on established and planned PhD programmes to ensure strong and robust research communities and sustainable programmes.
  • Educate cooperation-oriented professional practitioners who contribute to future welfare and value creation.
  • Place more emphasis on flexible forms of learning and assessment, with a focus on strengthening quality and learning outcomes through the use of new technology.
  • Strengthen student involvement in research and development activities.

Research and development

Research and development (R&D) has contributed strongly to creating the modern society and the wealth and welfare we enjoy today. At HiOA, R&D will further develop this foundation and develop knowledge that can provide better solutions to key challenges. In particular, HiOA will place emphasis on R&D that provides new knowledge about and for professions in a modern metropolitan area and that promotes continued development of a sustainable welfare society. R&D will be conducted by means of interaction between education and working life and will support the study programmes. This requires increased emphasis on R&D and scientific publication that contribute to developing practice in the professional programmes.

In order to develop the welfare society, Norway is highly dependent on acquiring knowledge from outside its own borders. Internationalisation is a condition for high-quality development, and participation in international research projects is a prerequisite to success. Allocation of external research funds is a hallmark of quality that indicates how well HiOA performs in the competition for international and national research funding.

To be able to meet these challenges, we must secure robust academic communities and give priority to extensive cooperation. This places high demands on management, priorities, professional expertise and infrastructure.


HiOA will be at the forefront of professionally relevant research and development. 

HiOA will:

  • Select priority areas that contribute to producing new knowledge about and for the professions.
  • Place emphasis on productive and robust academic communities that produce results.
  • Give priority to research activities that lead to increased scientific publication in weighted publication channels and increased external funding, particularly from the Research Council of Norway and the EU.
  • Give priority to international research cooperation that strengthens the quality of research and development.
  • Develop a sound research infrastructure.

External relations and dissemination

HiOA will distinguish itself as an attractive regional actor and partner for public and private institutions and enterprises. Extensive cooperation with business and society will enhance the relevance of research and dissemination and the development of relevant study programmes at HiOA. This implies potential for innovation and commercial activities.

HiOA is unique in a national context due to the scope of its professional programmes, which are closely connected to their respective fields of practice. At the same time, HiOA provides opportunities for professional specialisation at both master's degree and PhD levels. R&D activities will contribute to resolving specific challenges in society, develop new products and services, and further develop research-based education.

Externally-funded activities serve as an indicator of how attractive HiOA is as a cooperation partner. The level of competition in this area implies that HiOA must be one step ahead of the development in its tendering to the public sector, business and industry, and the society at large.


HiOA will challenge and develop the professions in cooperation with business and society and will be an active agent and participant in the public debate.

HiOA will:

  • Develop as an attractive cooperation partner and knowledge supplier to business and society.
  • Challenge and set the agenda for public debate in different arenas of discussion, and research dissemination aimed at the general public.
  • Strengthen HiOA's position as a key contributor to decision-making bodies.
  • Initiate and give priority to participation on strategically important regional, national and international councils and committees.
  • Emphasize HiOA's contribution to society and relevance in connection with all promotional activities.
  • Increase externally-funded activities that support HiOA's priority areas.
  • Strengthen continuing and further education by, among other things, further developing workplace and session-based programmes.
  • Give priority to and entrench innovation and entrepreneurship in education and research.

Human and financial resources

Environments and framework conditions are undergoing continuous change. The organisation must be continually prepared and have sufficient scope of action for dealing with new challenges and seizing new opportunities. This means, for example, creating scope of action to accommodate externally-funded activities, to further develop HiOA's programme portfolio, and to strengthen strategic priority areas inside education and research.

HiOA's organisation and resources will support core activities and contribute to achieving its goals so that its social mission is accomplished in a good way. HiOA will be an innovative and learning organisation with a positive work environment characterised by diversity. Efficient utilisation of resources and good infrastructure are necessary if we are to achieve our goals.

Good communication of, involvement in and support for common goals and values will strengthen the sense of community and help develop a common identity and a well-integrated organisational culture. Good management and motivated employees who take responsibility are the most important prerequisites for success. 


HiOA will be a learning and innovative workplace that organises and develops activities and resources in a goal-oriented and effective manner.

HiOA will:

  • Create an inclusive and inspirational work environment that promotes cooperation, learning and development.
  • Channel resources for specific measures to strengthen core activities within education and research and further develop a professional administration.
  • Achieve high levels of productivity and efficiency by working purposefully to achieve a satisfactory and predictable source of revenue, strategic scope of action, and balance between activities, revenues and costs.
  • Practice a recruitment and competence policy that positions HiOA as an internationally recognised and attractive workplace.
  • Secure effective decision-making processes through a strong commitment to management development.
  • Develop efficient and user-oriented administrative services and systems.
  • Develop the campuses in line with further development of the programme portfolio and the introduction of more flexible forms of work, learning and assessment.
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