The Emergence and Diffusion of Local Innovations and their Systemic Impact in the Education Sector

Principal Investigator: Gábor Halász

Funding: Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA)

Project Number: 115857


The objective of the “Innova” research project is to explore the birth and spread of non-coordinated micro-level (local, school level) educational innovations and their influence at system level. Our specific goal is to identify factors determining the emergence and diffusion of innovations aimed at improving the quality of learning environments. The project – funded by National Research, Development and Innovation Office (former Hungarian Scientific Research Fund - OTKA) – was started in February 2016. The research project is based on the detailed concept submitted to the funding agency.

The “Innova” project is the follow-up our former “ImpAla” research project[1] which has investigated the impact mechanisms of EU funded curriculum development programs in Hungary. While the “ImpAla” project was focusing on “top-down” innovations, the focus of the “Innova” project is on “bottom-up” innovation processes. A further difference is that while the “ImpAla” project was covering only primary and secondary education, the “Innova” project covers all subsystems of education, including kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, general and vocational training, higher education and profit-oriented or non-profit private education.

The “Innova” project places the research on educational innovation into the broader framework of innovation studies, with a special emphasis on public sector innovation. The theoretical phase of the project has produced, beyond a number of analyses (most of them being available in Hungarian) a general conceptual framework which guided the elaboration of the first “Innova” questionnaire. This questionnaire was sent to more than 15.000 educational units in Hungary in November 2016.

In the middle of February 2017 the Innova database comprised data from more than 5200 educational units (88% from pre-schools and schools, 10% from departments of higher education institutions and 2% from private adult education units). The figure below shows the distribution of all educational units in function of the answers given to one of the questions of the Innova questionnaire:



The “Innova” project is coordinated by the Research Centre on Higher Education and Innovation (RCHEI) of the Faculty of Education and Psychology of ELTE University, Budapest. The principal investigator is Professor Gábor Halász, the leader of RCHEI (see his personal website here).


[1] OTKA No.15792. See the Hungarian website here.