Regional Innovation Impact: EUA responds to Joint Research Centre report on assessment framework for universities

29 June 2018

EUA welcomes the European Commission Joint Research Centre’s report on “A Regional Innovation Impact: Assessment Framework for universities”. The report provides initial input to the discussion on EU-level regional innovation performance-based funding of universities and a related assessment framework. It outlines an assessment system for universities in which performance indicators are supported by narratives providing qualitative evidence of their contribution to regional innovation ecosystems.

In its response, EUA stresses that such a system could be of great value to an individual university in its self-assessment and progress tracking over time. However, contrary to the intended use of the assessment system, it should not serve to rank performance nor determine funding allocations for universities as they operate in different regional context.

To build an optimal system, the proposed narratives should be put at the centre of the assessment framework. A system in which universities can describe their positive impact on regional innovation can demonstrate their innovation performance in a more comprehensive manner. It would help to capture their direct and indirect contributions that go far beyond marketable products, including innovation in education, culture, and social welfare.

EUA calls on the European Commission to establish a dialogue with universities in order to design an assessment system that fully reflects their impact on regional innovation. EUA is currently involved in the development of other approaches that capture the value of universities in the regional context. The outcomes of this work could provide valuable input to the assessment framework demonstrating the strategic role of universities in their innovation ecosystems.

This response is a part of the EUA’s recommendations on maximising the effectiveness of smart specialisation strategies that will be presented at the upcoming Week of Innovative Regions in Europe 2018 on 4-6 July in Innsbruck, Austria. The response has been prepared in consultation with the EUA Expert Group on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation  (RIS3), based on the Association’s ongoing work on regional innovation.

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