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CIRCLE, Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, Lund University Papers in Innovation Studies, CIRCLE, Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy, Lund University

No 2014/13:
The role of universities in regional development: conceptual models and policy institutions in the UK, Sweden and Austria

Michaela Trippl (), Tanja Sinozic () and Helen Lawton Smith ()

Abstract: The literature on universities’ contributions to regional development is broad and diverse. A precise understanding of how regions can potentially draw advantages from various university activities and the role of public policy institutions (imperatives and incentives) in promoting such activities is still missing. The aim of this paper is to advance a more nuanced view on universities’ contributions to regional economic and societal development. We identify and review four conceptual models: (i) the entrepreneurial university model, (ii) the regional innovation system model, (iii) the mode 2 university model, and (iv) the engaged university model. The paper demonstrates that these four models emphasise very different activities and outputs by which universities are seen to benefit their regions. We also find that these models differ markedly with respect to the policy implications that can be drawn. Analysing public policy imperatives and incentives in the UK, Austria and Sweden the paper highlights that in the UK national policies encourage and have resulted in all four university models. In Sweden and Austria policy institutions tend to privilege in particular the RIS university model, whilst at the same time there is some evidence for increasing support of the entrepreneurial university model.

Keywords: universities; regional development; public policy; UK; Sweden; Austria; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: I28; R10; R58; (follow links to similar papers)

34 pages, July 29, 2014

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