Applied Research

What is Applied Research?

Applied research refers to research activities carried out in collaboration with companies or private foundations. These projects may be directly sponsored by these entities, or by public bodies such as the government or the European Union.



At IE University, our mission is to advance knowledge and find practical solutions through applied research.

The first step in fulfilling our mandate is to identify our faculty’s research interests and match them with ideal opportunities. This way, we encourage faculty members to deepen their expertise in their chosen areas, while also ensuring we generate high-quality outputs.

Next, we coordinate with various stakeholders throughout the proposal preparation process, ensuring internal and external compliance for each party. We also collaborate with external consultants to form consortia where necessary.

To meet key legal, financial, and project commitments, we monitor internal compliance among the various departments involved in any applied research project and provide support with project management if necessary.

Finally, we work hard to develop and maintain links with the global system of publicly funded applied-research innovation. By networking with National Contact Points (NCPs) for Horizon Europe and other relevant actors in the innovation ecosystem, as well as attending information days and similar events, we foster an effective outreach strategy around the world.


Our applied research mission equips researchers with key financial support for research activities as well as access to hard-to-obtain data. It also helps to ensure that our research projects are both of the highest quality and aligned with business and societal needs. By showcasing the strength of our individual schools and our faculty, it also strengthens IE University’s reputation as a whole, which benefits the entire community.

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benefits for partners


The benefits of our applied research mission for our partners include access to top experts with a global reputation, research-based co-branding with IE University, and valuable connections with our international network of top-notch professionals. Partners can capitalize on our faculty’s methodological capabilities to co-create credible knowledge and establish thought leadership in their field.


Here are just a few of our top-class research partners from across the globe:

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IE University’s Applied Research Unit aims to identify the applied-research interests of our faculty and match them with relevant opportunities. It also coordinates stakeholders in proposal preparation, ensures that key legal, financial and project commitments are met during project execution, and develops connections with the system of publicly funded applied-research innovation.

The Applied Research Unit is responsible for the general coordination and integration of applied-research activities across all of IE University’s departments and stakeholders. This includes our faculty; the legal, finance, HR and marketing departments; the individual schools; and IE Publishing.


Our main sources of funding are EU-backed innovation programs such as Horizon Europe, private foundations, companies, and national agencies.

In the context of EU-funded collaboration schemes within the Horizon Europe program we specifically target the two following, but remain open to other EU instruments.

Doctoral Networks

These are networks of universities and private companies that collaborate on a topic of interest through working with doctoral students. One such example is the Distributed Ledger Technology: Innovation & Ecosystem Management (DIEM ) network. It includes three projects on which PhD students at IE University are working, all involving different aspects of the blockchain.

Clusters Of Research And Innovation Actors

A network of universities and private companies that execute joint research to develop solutions via proofs of concept, minimum viable products (MVPs) or pilot programs. Here, IE University provides academic expertise and evaluation of outcomes. One example is CO-VERSATILE , a project that aims to provide adaptive and resilient production methods and supply chain solutions to meet the urgent need for essential medical equipment.

Research Publications

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