Universities in Regional Development: Project Outline
The main objective of the research is to investigate the ways in which universities are
responding to the new demands placed on them to play a leading role in regional economic
and social development, assisting employment creation, encouraging individuals to achieve
their potential, and developing a culture of flexibility and learning, and contributing to
Other objectives are :
to analyse the changing role of the university in the light of the
other pressures - fiscal, technological, managerial, political - that are increasingly impinging
to examine the interaction between national and regional policy
contexts for university engagement, and European policy fields specifically providing support
for science and technology, innovation, and structural development, and,
to assist policymakers, university managers and practitioners at
various spatial scales to better tailor policies and actions through the dissemination of
good practice and European comparative experiences of existing actions.
Key questions are:
How are changes in funding regimes, technologies, 'knowledge production'
regimes and academic working practices affecting the role that universities play in the regional
How are the universities strategically engaging with regional business
and economic policy communities? How is this engagement affecting the educational and cultural
roles of the university?
To what extent, and how, does the university manage the interface
between local business or local interest groups and external actors at an inter-regional, national
or European level (for instance as brokers of information on business and political developments,
funding possibilities, and relevant research outcomes)?
To what extent does the university play an intellectual and cultural
leadership role in setting regional development strategies and how is this organised? What is
hindering universities from playing a greater role in regional development?
How do changes in the role of the university affect the educational
and cultural roles of the university?
How do universities cope with tensions stemming from their different
roles as academic knowledge provider and as contributor to regional innovation processes?
To what extent do universities contribute to the development of new
agendas and initiatives in the area of information society, and how does this fit with other
How do graduates contribute to regional economic development? To what
extent are the career paths of graduates surveyed at the regional scale and are there specific
programmes to assist their absorption within the regional labour market? To what extent do universities
respond to changes in the regional labour market, such as increasing demands for knowledge workers?
To what extent do universities, through engaging in economic development,
contribute to the wider goals of cohesion, and European integration.?
There are many differences (for example in the status, funding and organisation) of the university sector between different countries in the EU. At the same time, there are in many cases also major differences between universities with different histories and traditions within each country. Nevertheless, through a strong comparative element the project will examine what can be learned by the higher education community generally from the strategies and tactics adopted by particular institutions.
Considerable resources are also being made available through European programmes in support of regional development, and through vocational training initiatives and RTD programmes which involve universities and have some dimension of regional interaction or support. The complex interactions between these policy areas and national/regional policies and pressures need to be well understood to ensure that maximum value is obtained from these efforts. Policymakers at all levels within the EU can benefit from such research and advice to better assist the direction of universities towards supporting economic and social cohesion in Europe.
Commencement Date: January 1999
Completion Date: December 2000
Co-ordinator Dr David Charles, CURDS, University of Newcastle
University of Amsterdam
University of Athens
University of Dortmund
Trinity College Dublin
University of Joensuu
University of Sevilla
Southern Cross University, Australia
Back to UNIREG Home Page
The CURDS Home Page
Maintained by email@example.com
- Last modified on 12th February 1999.