Impact of universities on regional development

1 10 2007

Last week we noted NESTA’s review of the ways universities drive innovation, which highlighted the regional dimension. Now an OECD-sponsored research paper provides a literature review of the many ways that universities can impact on a region’s economic development prospects.  Higher Education and Regions: Globally Competitive, Locally Engaged, by Peter Arbo and Paul Benneworth, discusses four key roles for higher educational institutions: as anchors of regional innovation systems; as providers of lifelong learning opportunities; as partners in regional governance; and, as promoters of sustainable development strategies.

The research reviews both the theory and practice in each of these areas, and concludes that universities can no longer sit apart from other local actors as an “ivory tower.” As knowledge and innovation become more important components of regional development, the role of universities, and access to their resources, will become critical social issues.   The report also notes that HEIs are increasingly creating entrepreneurship programmes as a means of overcoming barriers to developing human capital within regions.  [Source: NDE-news]

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