EUA launches study on innovation ecosystems at event in Brussels

21 March 2019


Following a two-year project involving intense field research, EUA published a major report entitled “The Role of Universities in Regional Innovation Ecosystems” by Dr. Sybille Reichert.

The report was launched on 8 March at an event in Brussels, attended by representatives from the EU institutions, universities and other research and innovation stakeholders, and will also be presented in a session at the EUA Annual Conference in Paris on 11 and 12 April. The study focuses on the role of universities in innovation ecosystems by analysing the nature and changing quality of the interactions between universities, companies, governmental agencies and other public organisations in nine different European regions. The results are based on nine in-depth case studies of EUA member universities with a total of 173 individuals being interviewed. The outcomes of this work clearly show the role that universities and university leadership play in this multi-actor orchestration of innovation. Moreover, it demonstrates how universities are developing the interplay between research, education, and innovation within the institutions.

It is clear from the report that universities are moving away from linear concepts of innovation to closer co-creative approaches with external partners, which help them take on a new central role in their innovation ecosystems. Universities need framework conditions that allow them to fully assume this role, including sustainable and sufficient funding for curiosity-driven research and sufficient autonomy, for example, to reform study programmes in view of problem-based learning. The report is of interest to individual universities wishing to review and strengthen their own innovation mission, for national rectors’ conferences to use as an evidence base in their own system level policy discussions and for governments and funders to look at examples of innovation-friendly framework conditions. For further information, please contact Thomas Jørgensen, EUA Senior Policy Coordinator.

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