Research Centre for Innovation in Business and Communication

Growth based on innovation and enterprise forms one of the strongest pillars of our economy. Naturally, this requires knowledge and creativity. A robust urban economy has significant benefits for the economy and society: highly educated professionals, creative incubators and an entrepreneurial environment. This research centre helps to provide direction to the development of the key themes of innovation, communication and entrepreneurship in today's society. We do this by developing tools and services that creative and business professionals can use in daily practice.

Examples include innovations based on smart ICT applications and doing business in powerful ecosystems. The initial focus is on cooperating with the sectors that make Utrecht an economically strong city region. These sectors are specifically: professional services (IT, marketing, communications, creative industries, media and FinTech), wholesale, logistics and manufacturing. Of course, we also work actively with partners in the public sector, including provincial government, municipal governments and various lifestyle institutes.

By building on a strong economic foundation, connections can be forged on the basis of cross-disciplinary thematic issues such as sustainable construction practices, innovation in healthcare, social entrepreneurship, healthy lifestyle and optimal (online) communication between (local) governments and citizens.

We work with a range of partners. These include knowledge institutions, government ministries, municipalities and SMEs in the creative and business services sectors such as: 

  • Province of Utrecht
  • Economic Board of Utrecht
  • U Create (Centre of Expertise for the Creative Industry in Utrecht)
  • Utrecht University (e.g. Utrecht Data School) 
  • Foundation for Creative Connection (Utrecht network of creative agencies) 
  • Immovator
  • Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment
  • UMCU
  • Ideate
  • Greenberry
  • Beeld en Geluid
  • Bright
  • Digitaal Erfgoed Nederland
  • Radio 538
  • SURFnet

Research with a practical focus

An essential prerequisite for all our research is that there is demand for it from the field of professional practice, or that it is immediately recognized as relevant. Research is carried out in collaboration with professional practitioners, either because they commission research directly or because we work with practitioners on the basis of their specific expertise. This ensures that our research is always highly relevant to the needs of professional practice. The results of our research therefore lead not only to new scientific knowledge but, just as importantly, this knowledge is applied in professional practice. We also work regularly with other research groups on complex issues that require an interdisciplinary approach.

The research projects that we work on, together with our partners, are either commissioned (by private and public parties) or part of long-term research projects that are funded through grants. 

Research projects

The research groups actively communicate knowledge to partners in professional practice by means of lectures, seminars, presentations and workshops. Strong and consistent links with practice are also assured by the professors, who are involved in the professional field in a range of different ways. Representatives from professional practice participate in the development of knowledge, both upon their own initiative and at the request of the research centre, ensuring that knowledge is circulated and disseminated.

Results for teaching and education

The professors, who are all experts in their field, are the driving force behind the research centre. They deploy their knowledge and experience to promote research and innovation within the professional field. The professors are supported by researchers, who typically combine this role with teaching activities. This combination provides excellent connections between the research groups and the university’s degree programmes, facilitating the transfer of new knowledge from research to teaching. 

HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht encourages its teaching staff to participate in their field and also to carry out doctoral research within it. Many students are also actively involved in conducting applied research. This is one reason why they will be excellently placed to play a role in professional practice. 

Research findings are incorporated into both our Bachelor’s and Master’s teaching. We also share our insights with professionals through a range of courses (link to

The research groups 

The Research Centre for Innovation in Business and Communication is made up of several research groups. Each research group focuses on several research lines. These are areas or themes in which one or more (doctoral) research studies are being carried out.

  • Human Experience & Media Design
    (formerly known as: Cross-Media Business) The central question for this research group is how communication experts and media professionals use cross-media content effectively - whether in advertising, information or entertainment.
  • Quality journalism in Digital Transition
    (formerly known as: Cross-Media Quality Journalism) This research group focuses specifically on the impact of digitalization and the consequent rise of cross-media and its effects on journalism and its role in society.
  • Cross-Media Communication in the Public Domain
    This research group explores how (cross-media) communication can be used strategically in communication between government and institutions on the one hand, and citizens on the other.
  • Intelligent Data Systems
    (formerly known as: Architecture of Digital Information) How can complex digital communication systems remain manageable? This research group investigates how the predictability, quality and acceptance of ICT solutions can be increased and enhanced.
  • Financial-Economic Advice for Innovation
    This research group provides expertise on specific issues related to the growth of companies, such as acquisitions and business successions. This involves evaluating both organizational and financial aspects. 
  • Marketing, Market Research and Innovation
    Working in the field of marketing and market research, this research group contributes to the research centre’s ambition of developing expertise in the field of business model innovation and promoting entrepreneurship. 
  • Process Innovation and Information Systems
    ICT is a prime driver of innovation in business organization, customer processes and internal processes. This research group investigates and advises on the link between ICT-driven business innovation, process optimization, and data planning.
  • Cooperative Entrepreneurship (discontinued as of May 2018)
    The Cooperative Entrepreneurship Research Group conducts research on the formation of partnerships and new business models and their role in successful innovation and growth. The research group focuses primarily on regional SMEs.


Visiting Address:
Heidelberglaan 15
3584 CS Utrecht
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 85029
3508 AA Utrecht
Phone: +31 88 - 481 82 83