Great Expectations? Universities as civic anchors for local innovation and development

Kempton, Louise (2020) Great Expectations? Universities as civic anchors for local innovation and development. [Doctorate by Public Works]

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The relative importance of universities as local anchor institutions, coupled with the prevailing economic conditions since the financial crisis and subsequent austerity era, has led to increasing demands from policy makers for publicly funded universities to be proactive drivers of innovation and development in the places in which they are located, particularly in less developed or peripheral regions. This has led to a resurgence of interest in concepts such as the civic university in understanding the contributions universities might make to local social and economic development.

This context statement describes a body of research conducted between 2011 and 2019 that explores, and culminates in challenging, many of the orthodoxies underpinning the policy rhetoric around the role of universities as civic anchors in contributing to innovation and development in the places in which they are located. It explores these issues through three main themes; universities as actors in local and regional innovation systems; the nature of the global ‘civic’ university; and universities as local anchor institutions. It highlights gaps in the existing literature, lays out key research questions and illustrates how the research findings presented here have attempted to address them.

The findings from this research argue that policy makers and even universities themselves may be over-estimating the hegemony of universities in contributing to and driving local innovation and development, whilst at the same time underplaying the significant impacts of internal tensions and external barriers on their ability and willingness to engage. While not suggesting they have no direct role as local actors, it rather contends that a more realistic, honest understanding of the limitations of universities’ contribution as local civic anchors coupled with a more nuanced and context sensitive approach to policy design might lead to more mutually beneficial outcomes for them and the places in which they are located.

Item Type: Doctorate by Public Works
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > Business School
B. > Doctorates by Public Works
Item ID: 35646
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2022 09:30
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:14

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