EUA Innovation Ecosystems Project

EUA works to demonstrate the vital contribution of universities to regional development and sustainable innovation. It underlines how universities contribute to regional capacity building and to sustaining highly-competitive regions. They do this by stimulating innovation in companies and public organisations and by providing education for changing labour markets and new challenges, facilitating entrepreneurship, and the circulation of knowledge.

The EUA Innovation Ecosystems Project focuses on in-depth case studies of a number of universities in different regional contexts. These include the globally competitive technological hubs, regions meeting the challenges of post-industrialisation, and regions re-inventing themselves through investments in higher education and research. The project presents key findings on the types of activities that universities are conducting to contribute to innovation processes.

These findings include the role of universities in leading innovation through their missions in learning and teaching and research, as well as in contributing to the strategy development of their regions.

Participating universities:

  • Aalto University, Finland
  • Masaryk University, Czech Republic
  • Sorbonne University, France
  • Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands
  • Technical University of Munich, Germany
  • University of Manchester, UK
  • University of Minho, Portugal
  • University of Warsaw, Poland
  • Universitat Politéchnica de Catalunya, Spain

The project is done in collaboration with Reichert Consulting


  • 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...

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  • The Role of Universities in Regional Innovation Ecosystems


    08 March 2019

    Universities are moving away from linear concepts of innovation to closer co-creative approaches wit...

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  • EUA focus group points to innovation mission as key challenge for universities in the next decade


    21 February 2019

    On 1 February, 15 university leaders and managers from 13 European countries gathered at the EUA foc...

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  • EUA Annual Workshop on RIS3: Coherent Innovation Ecosystems

    External resource

    15 January 2019 view more
  • EUA response to Joint Research Centre report on regional innovation impact assessment for universities

    Policy input

    05 July 2018

    The European University Association (EUA) welcomes the European Commission Joint Research Centr...

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  • 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 Innovati...

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  • Coherent policies for Europe beyond 2020: maximising the effectiveness of smart specialisation strategies for regional development


    20 February 2018

    To maximise the effectiveness of Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) in developing regional i...

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  • EUA Webinar: "The role of universities in Regional Innovation"


    26 October 2016 view more
  • RIS3 Workshop Report: Universities Promoting Regional Innovation across Europe


    06 April 2016

    This report presents the outcomes of the first meeting of EUA’s Expert Group on Research and Innov...

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  • Universities are central to regional innovation across Europe


    04 April 2016

    Universities are uniquely placed to support regional development across the linked domains of knowle...

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  • The Rise of Knowledge Regions: Emerging Opportunities and Challenges for Universities


    20 November 2006

    EUA commissioned this study entitled The Rise of Knowledge Regions: Emerging Opportunities and Chall...

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  • Open innovation ecosystems: universities connecting the dots

    08 Mar 2019 Events Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union Brussels
    Innovation is key to tackling today’s challenges, and it is a main driver for economic and societal development locally as well as globally. Innovation capacity is also an important element for regional competitiveness. To find innovative and sustainable solutions that benefit society at large... Read more
  • The role of universities in innovation ecosystems

    01 Feb 2019 Events Aalborg University
    The European University Association (EUA) is organising a Focus Group for university leaders across Europe to discuss the role of universities in innovation ecosystems. This event is aimed at university leaders with experience in developing and implementing strategies to strengthen the university&r... Read more
  • EUA Annual Workshop on RIS3

    13 Nov 2018 Events University of Graz
    © University of Graz
    Organised by EUA in collaboration with Universities Austria (UNIKO) and the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI) within the framework of the EUA Expert Group on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3)               Mo... Read more
  • EUA RIS3 Workshop

    17 Oct 2017 Events University of Tartu
    2017 marked a crucial year for universities engaged in regional innovation. European policy-makers, the university sector and many other stakeholders are taking stock of past achievements in Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3) with a view to defining the priorities for the... Read more
  • EUA RIS3 Workshop

    13 Oct 2016 Events University of Warsaw
    The Workshop on “Universities as motors of innovation in Central and Eastern Europe” was the second in a series of workshops jointly organised by National Rectors’ Conferences and the European University Association (EUA) on the thematic area of Research and Innovation Smart Specia... Read more

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Expert voices

  • Universities and innovation: beyond the third mission

    08 March 2019

    The new EUA report “The role of universities in innovation ecosystems” gives clear examples of this trend. It is based on nine in-depth case studies from around Europe and more than 170 in...

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  • A European industrial strategy based on cooperation and curiosity

    08 March 2019

    A stronger EU industrial policy is in the cards, including more investments in innovation. Technological and social innovation are central to move towards sustainable development, key to economic grow...

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