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HIVA - Onderzoeksinstituut voor Arbeid en Samenleving/ HIVA - Research Institute for Work and Society

Address :
Parkstraat 47 - 5300
3000  Leuven


Contact person :
Emmanuel Gerard
Phone: +32 16 323333
Fax: + 32 16 323344

Short description

The HIVA - Research Institute for Work and Society is an inter-faculty research institute of the K.U.Leuven and was founded in 1974 as a joint venture (structural collaboration) between the K.U.Leuven and the Christian Workers’ Movement (ACW), which is in fact a unique organisational structure. Within the K.U.Leuven, HIVA is attached to the Human Sciences Group. Its core activity is to carry out applied research and to disseminate the research results. HIVA conducts policy-oriented inter-disciplinary research concerning social problems of relevance to workers, underprivileged groups, social organisations and movements. HIVA's expertise covers the fields of Work and Organisation, Labour Market, Poverty and Social Integration, Civil Society and Social Economy, Migration, Environmental Policy and Sustainable Development, Education and Lifelong Learning, Development Cooperation, Welfare State, Housing.. HIVA conducts high-quality academic and policy-related research.

HIVA's key mission is to conduct inter-disciplinary academic research on the aforementioned social problems. Based on this research, policy-oriented recommendations are formulated. In addition, HIVA wishes to encourage dialogue between academia and civil society. In order to support the policy-oriented research, HIVA also invests in more fundamental academic research. These activities result in various forms of output: research reports, academic articles, recommendations, contributions to seminars, education and training, participation in policy advice working groups and PhD research.

HIVA works closely with its partner members. In particular, it cooperates with departments within the K.U.Leuven in order to achieve symbiosis between policy-oriented and fundamental research and with the various organisations of the Christian Workers' Movement. In addition, cooperation with the partners within the association of the K.U.Leuven is a key goal, as well as with other research institutes in Flanders, Belgium and abroad. To this end, appropriate networks have been developed.

HIVA's budget amounts to 5 million euro per year, 10% of which is recursive financing by K.U.Leuven and 10% is financing for research by ACW. Research at HIVA is carried out mainly using external financing from public and private bodies at local, Flemish, federal and international levels. The principal clients are European institutions, the Federal government, the Flemish government and other public or private bodies. In financial terms, HIVA must be cost-effective. These assignments require an institute that is able to function as a professional, flexible and innovative organisation, with suitably trained personnel. There are approximately 70 researchers, of which 20 executive staff members or research managers. Each research manager supervises two to four researchers and also performs research.

Areas of expertise and competencies

HIVA's core activity is research and the dissemination of research results. HIVA conducts research in an academic and policy-oriented manner into the problems affecting workers, the underprivileged and risk groups, social organisations and movements in society. The research activities are grouped into ten major research themes.

1) Work and Organisation
2) Labour Market
3) Poverty and Social Integration
4) Civil Society and Social Economy
5) Migration
6) Environmental Policy and Sustainable Development
7) Education and Lifelong Learning
8) Development Cooperation
9) Welfare State
10) Housing

Work programme, strategic plan, projects

1) Work and Organisation. Within the theme of 'Work and Organisation', research is carried out on the way in which work is organised in our economy. How do businesses, institutions and public administrations develop their labour organisation? What personnel policy do they pursue to put that organisation into practice? How can employees make their voices heard about the way in which their work and the personnel policy are organised? What problems and challenges does this produce for terms of employment, quality of work and labour relations? More information

2) Labour Market. An inter-disciplinary team conducts research into the following segments of the labour market field: underprivileged groups on the labour market, labour market regulation, labour market factors, flows and transitions on the labour market and globalisation on the labour market. More information

3) Poverty and Social Integration. Poverty and social integration are studied from various angles: psychological, sociological, education-theoretical and economic. Basic social rights are regarded in this context as the foundation of the policy to combat poverty. Action-oriented and participatory research supplements the traditional approach. At the same time, the link between social exclusion and social structures and processes is a key aspect. After all, the ultimate roots of poverty are found not among the poor themselves, but in the way in which society is organised, as a result of power relationships between social groups. In addition to research assignments, our team is also involved in expert assignments, supervision, coaching and training. More information

4) Civil Society and Social Economy. Our society encompasses a wide range of associations, social movements, non-governmental organisations, cooperatives, self-help groups, etc. Together, they are also known as the ‘social civil society’. The equivalent of this in the economic context is the ‘social economy’ – a third sector located between the market sector and the government sector. This research group aims to support this social and socio-economic civil society through surveys, case studies, monitoring studies, training and process guidance. More information

5) Migration. The migration research concentrates on the sub-themes of international migration and migrants, with attention being given both to the causes and consequences of international migratory movements. This places the subject in an explicit North- South context and also creates interfaces with other topics, such as the debate on identity and citizenship. The theme is approached from the perspective of various policy domains: international cooperation, the labour market, social welfare, security, etc. In addition to the process, the people involved in the process are also studied, independent of their legal category: employment migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, people without lawful right of residence, etc. More information

6) Environmental Policy and Sustainable Development. Extensive experience with policy-supportive research into environmental policy and sustainable development has been acquired. Its most notable principals are Flemish, federal and provincial government administrations. Some of the themes running through the research topics include participation, public support, policy evaluation and institutionalisation. More information

7) Education and Lifelong Learning. Since its inception, HIVA has regarded the subject of education and social inequality as one of the spearheads of its research agenda. This involves, on the one hand, analysing the position of the weakest groups within our education system and, on the other hand, policy-oriented and evaluation research in the wake of innovations in order to achieve a more democratic and effective form of education for these groups. In addition to primary and special education, attention is also devoted to (full-time and part-time) vocational training, the transition from education to the labour market, the move into higher education, participation in and the output of lifelong and life-wide learning. More information

8) Development Cooperation. The ‘Development Cooperation’ theme focuses on research and evaluation research relating to the development policy and actions of international institutions, governmental and non-governmental organisations and new civil organisations. Public support and participation are the transverse themes running through the following research topics: Multi-Level Governance (MLG) as a new paradigm, new civil organisations, the impact of development programmes, public support for international cooperation, the availability of health care in developing countries and food security. Much attention is devoted to the relevance of the research to the actors in development cooperation, as well as to the theoretical and methodological foundations. More information

9) Welfare State. Both the creation and social distribution of welfare is studied, carrying out research on the macro, meso and micro-level on the relationship between the economy and the welfare state, and the organisation of social security. This research theme combines solid knowledge of the welfare state with attention for its place within and impact on the economy. The research is therefore also well positioned to feed the social debate on the reconcilability of economic development and social protection. More information

10) Housing. Policy-oriented research into housing is conducted. The research topics closely reflect the objectives of Flemish housing policy, i.e. availability, affordability and the quality of housing, focusing in particular on those most in need of housing. ‘Housing’ is considered within its broad meaning. The subject of the research is not only the housing itself, but also the broad social, economic and spatial context within which housing is situated. For this reason, the research is usually multi-disciplinary. More information

Publications, language, newsletter

HIVA produces two types of output: scientific and policy-oriented output. The standard products of the scientific output are the research reports. In addition, HIVA researchers also produce books or chapters in books, publish articles in scientific journals, conference proceedings, papers, develop instruments and translate research into handbooks. Various staff members are member of the editorial staff of scientific journals. HIVA organises conferences on research themes and aims in general to translate research into training.

The policy-oriented output consists of articles in policy-oriented journals, papers presented in workshops and seminars, lectures for specific target groups. Various staff members are active members of work groups and steering committees.

More information about the publications can be found on the website.

You can also register to receive the e-newsletter, which appears every two months (only in Dutch).

Other networks the institute is participating in

HIVA participates in international and European scientific networks (for example EWCO) and collaborates with RDCongo, Senegal, China, Peru and Canada. HIVA is also correspondent of the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO). The Observatory is promoted by the EU and coordinated by the European Foundation for the Improvement of the Living and Working Conditions, located in Dublin.

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