Besides being an institution of scientific education and further training, the UALS also has an explicit research focus. This also plays an important role when recruiting professors. Each time a job is advertised, the senate verifies how a vacant professorship can help promote the research profile. Research activities of the teaching staff are both supported by the administration and promoted through incentive-based systems.
The UALS adopted a cooperative approach to identify three focal areas of applied research and development that are based on the university's strategic orientation and on the associated goals of the Federal Employment Agency. The aim is to sharpen the UALS's research profile in order to make it more transparent both internally and externally, to highlight interfaces for cooperation and to enable selective research promotion.
The key areas of applied research and development form an umbrella concept which is translated into practice by concrete research and development projects and programmes. This is to assure that research at the UALS stays open to future developments and innovations and that the scientists' research interests and profiles are given adequate weight.
The triad of guidance, placement and integration is the connecting element that is reflected in the following three focal areas of applied science and development:
Employment and transitions in a changing labour market
In the beginning 21st century, the labour market is transforming. A number of long-term substantial trends are responsible for this development: The consequences of demographic change are beginning to be felt, markets are becoming more international, work is getting more mobile, flexible and volatile, and the information and knowledge society is increasingly gaining importance as is the technical development in the goods manufacturing and service sector. The research focus "Employment and transitions in a changing labour market" studies the impact of these trends on the labour market and on guidance services, in particular on transitions in school and career.
Governance of labour market services
Interactive labour market services that require intensive communication are provided in an environment of tension that can be defined by the polar terms individual/situational and organised/standardised. The "Governance of labour market services" focus puts the micro-, meso- and macro-level of such interactions into the centre of analyses and looks at their institutional conditions from this angle. Different aspects of development dynamics and governance of labour market services requiring intensive communication are analysed theoretically and empirically from the angle of different scientific disciplines.
Social protection and legal context
Social security systems are rooted in the welfare state principle. The welfare state principle entitles and commits the legislative branch to design social security. The societal context is crucial in this regard. The "Social protection and legal context" focus emphasises the future economic, social and political developments with regard to their impact on the social security systems. Topics of labour and social law are covered besides migration and EU law in the transformation of social and labour law.
The UALS's major concern is to harmonize research and teaching. This approach has the benefit of allowing students to participate in active research projects, while experiences made during internships or writing graduation theses generate fresh stimulus for new research questions.
The UALS regularly organises series of lectures, scientific colloquiums and research congresses to present its work and promote the exchange in the scientific community. The university also aims to expand the procurement of third-party funding that has been rather successful in the past years and to intensify partnerships, also on an international scale.