Instructed by the government to take place between 2017 and 2021, the ULF is a national pilot project, which will develop and test sustainable collaboration models between academia and school in terms of research, school activities and teacher education.
The goal of ULF is to develop an infrastructure with long-term sustainable collaboration models between academia and school principals in order to strengthen the scientific basis and the scientific approach in schools. The collaboration models will lead to research that is relevant to the school by allowing professional groups within the school to take the initiative for research, not just researchers within academia. After the end of the trial operation, successful collaboration models must be able to become permanent and begin to be used nationally. The vision is that the collaboration models should be the basis for professional practice within the school and for teacher education.
ULF is an abbreviation for Development, Learning, Research. The ULF agreement is a concept that should bring to mind the doctors' ALF agreement, which exists in health care and which has been a model on which ULF has been based upon. For example, the ALF agreement gives doctors the opportunity to combine their clinical work with research and give medical students the opportunity to do their internships in an environment where clinical research is conducted.
Responsibilities and nodes
Four higher education institutions have been given the main responsibility for the experimental activities: the University of Gothenburg, Karlstad University, Umeå University and Uppsala University. Each responsible university leads the work in a node. These nodes include additional higher education institutions. The University of Gothenburg's node includes The University of Borås, Chalmers University of Technology, The School of Gymnastics and Sports (GIH), Jönköping University and Kristianstad University.
The nodes work mainly with collaboration models, overall operational planning, distribution of funds and knowledge exchange within the node.
Several forms of collaboration
Examples of forms of collaboration can be agreements on combined employment for teachers with research competence and space in services for preschool teachers and teachers to participate in research projects. Other collaborations will include joint forums for researchers, preschool teachers/teachers and school leaders where research and development needs can be identified and used as a basis for joint projects.
The aim is that the models for collaboration that are tested in the experimental activities should be documented and evaluated and that knowledge about functional forms of collaboration should be able to be disseminated to other higher education institutions and school principals.