The IEC's research activities focus both on basic and applied research. Teams of academics deal with topical issues such as:
- Secondary Education with emphasis on the theory and practice of vocational education, the didactics of vocational subjects, and the didactics of practical training.
- Modern teaching strategies and procedures, including development and innovation in didactic technique and technology.
- Systems of vocational training, qualification systems, and standards.
- Lifelong learning in connection with initial and continuing vocational training.
- Education for rural areas, sustainable development, and environmental education.
- Guidance in vocational education, focused mainly on career guidance.