YEAR 2020

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BiLO research project concludes: Local educational offer is relevant for individual educational decision-making


The research project "BildungsLandschaft Oberfranken (BiLO)" was completed by the end of September. For more than five years, researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) investigated the connection between regional educational opportunities and individual educational decisions and surveyed about 8,000 people and 1,500 educational providers in Upper Franconia for this purpose. Their conclusion: With innovative methods and approaches, BiLO addressed a research gap on the one hand, and on the other, the project was able to build a bridge between science and practice by providing important information and tools for municipal education monitoring. BiLO was funded by the Upper Franconia Foundation until March 2020, and LIfBi has extended the project funding until September 2020.


Since January 2014, the BiLO research group led by Dr. Michaela Sixt of LIfBi in Bamberg has been investigating the interplay between local educational offerings and individual educational decisions at different stages of the life course - from early childhood and schooling to vocational training, continuing education in adulthood and cultural education. The scientific results obtained in Upper Franconia can also be transferred to other, comparable regions.

BiLO provides a variety of insights into the significance of the local educational landscape

In order to arrive at conclusions about the local educational landscape, 1,500 education providers and around 8,000 residents of Upper Franconia were surveyed. On the basis of the data obtained in this way, it becomes clear that the local educational offering does not always play the same role in a person's life, but it always plays a significant role in his or her educational decisions. This is exemplified by a series of research findings that were produced as part of BiLO and summarized in an anthology.

The detailed contributions can be found in the anthology by Michaela Sixt, Michael Bayer and Doreen Müller (eds.): "Bildungsentscheidungen und lokales Angebot. Die Bedeutung der Infrastruktur für Bildungsentscheidungen im Lebensverlauf" published by Waxmann Verlag in 2018.

Contribution to supraregional research

The findings from the BiLO project also serve transregional educational research by feeding into the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), Germany's largest longitudinal study of educational trajectories, which is housed at LIfBi. The expertise gained in the project, both on address data management, georeferencing and distance calculation as well as on the implementation of online surveys, will be incorporated into future planning and work for the NEPS. For educational researchers, the anonymized data have been available in a Scientific Use File (SUF) for scientific use since March 2020 ( The dataset is particularly valuable because, in addition to the survey data, it contains 600 million distance measures that map distances between respondents' homes and educational locations in a privacy-compliant manner.

From science to practice

The "Atlas BildungsLandschaft Oberfranken" represents a special transfer service. It provides municipal education offices, as well as the interested public, with comparable and reliable information on the educational situation in Upper Franconia in the sense of comprehensive municipal education monitoring at the district level. It is available as a print version with detailed information on individual districts as well as digitally in the form of a local education database for Upper Franconia. This was created in cooperation with LIfBi software development and is available to interested parties free of charge (

BiLO says thank you

At the end of the project, we would like to thank the Upper Franconia Foundation for funding the project and all participants in the surveys, including educational institutions and citizens from Upper Franconia. Further thanks go to all stakeholders from politics, practice and the public, but also, of course, to all colleagues indirectly and directly involved in the project as well as to the management from the house. Last but not least, our thanks go to the employees who led the project to a successful conclusion.

With the newly staffed research area Structures and Systems, the topic will continue to be present at LIfBi and it remains exciting to see which findings will emerge!


Further links

Projectpage BiLO - Bildungslandschaft Oberfranken (in German language)

Atlas Bildungslandschaft Oberfranken (in German language)

Flyer Anthology "Bildungsentscheidungen und lokales Angebot" with results of the BiLO project (in German language)

Scientific-Use-Files and Documentation for scientific Use (in German language)