Watch the webinar recording featuring an RSA-sponsored new book Putting Universities in their Place: An evidence based approach to understanding the contribution of higher education to local and regional development:
- Speakers: Lucir Reinaldo Alves, Western Parana State University, Brazil; Louise Kempton, Newcastle University, UK; Maria Conceição Rego, Evora University, Portugal
- Chair: Anne Rimmer, Policy Analyst in the OECD’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Cities and Regions, France
Policy Expo 2018: Putting Universities in their Place – An Evidence Based Approach to Understanding the Contribution of Higher Education to Local and Regional Development
- Mark Tewdwr-Jones, University College London, UK
- Louise Kempton, Newcastle University, UK
- Paul Vallance, Sheffield University, UK
- Maria Conceição Rego, Evora University, Portugal
- Lucir Reinaldo Alves, Western Parana State University, Brazil
- Mauricio Aguiar Serra, University of Campinas, Brazil
There have been several attempts in recent years to create conceptual frameworks and models to help universities and policy makers understand the role and contribution of higher education to local and regional development. However, these models have failed to fully reflect or give insufficient attention to the impact of the regional context (economic, social, political), the policy environment for higher education and territorial development and the diversity of management and leadership structures of universities themselves. This has led to the development of static models that rarely work outside of the immediate context in which they were developed and therefore risk leading to design of policies that are not fit for purpose.
This Policy Expo is the result of work with partners in Europe, South America, Africa, Asia and Australia to develop a new approach, the ORPHIC Framework, to think about how the university that can be adapted to the specificity of institutional and local contexts. The book examines:
- What are the different roles that universities play in local and regional development and how do these manifest themselves?
- How can we learn from comparing practice and experience internationally, and to what extent are policies aimed at promoting university-region relationships transferrable?
- What are the internal university factors, such as management and leadership, history, mission, structures, and the external factors, such as territorial development policy context, governance system, nature of the ‘place’, that might help us explain the nature of the relationship?
Putting Universities in their Place offers fresh conceptual framing of the role of universities in regional resilience. The authors illustrate how the traditional contributions of higher education to regional development (generating graduates for regional labour markets and enabling innovation through research and knowledge transfer) need to be bi-directionally coupled with an expanded view of partnership in ways that are place-responsive rather than space-blind. This amounts to a flexible framework that deeply considers the regional context along with the heterogeneity of higher education configurations. This Policy Expo is a key reading for policy-makers, higher education leaders, and regional development actors. It offers insight for both structuring and documenting the impacts of a higher education institution’s collaboration with its regional ecosystem.
Lina D. Dostilio, EdD, Associate Vice Chancellor, Community Engagement, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
We have long known that universities are important for their regions, but Putting Universities in their Place breaks new ground conceptually, and in policy terms, by being the first to draw out their pivotal role in building regional resilience and adaptive capacity. It is a publication that fundamentally reframes our understanding of universities and how they contribute to the communities that host them. It challenges us to see universities as core to the wellbeing and success of regions and those that live within them. The authors are to be commended for the way this Policy Expo speaks directly to the priorities of policy makers, academics, university leaders and those setting national HEI policies. Putting Universities in their Place takes us beyond a simple ‘one-size fits-all’ paradigm and instead encourages us to acknowledge diversity amongst universities as institutions, as well as the highly differentiated nature of local needs. It develops a new, enlightening, framework for better understanding the potential and impact of universities, and it does so in order to generate better outcomes for these communities and the teaching and research institutions that sit within them. This is a text that will be long acknowledged as an important contribution to the field. It is a substantial step towards policies and programs that are more effective at ensuring regional betterment.
Professor Andrew Beer, Executive Dean, Business, University of South Australia
Universities are growingly expected to support the socio-economic development of their cities and regions. However, an effective and positive contribution is by no means to be taken for granted. Putting Universities in their Place helps both to reflect on universities as social and economic institutions and to understand the multiple and multifaceted forces on which their territorial impacts impinge. For example, the ongoing tension between being locally relevant and globally excellent might push universities toward imbalances and misalignments undermining their potential contribution to local and regional development. Indeed, Putting Universities in their Place is a significant step forward in unpacking such complex relationships, not only for its scholarly analysis but also for the concrete implications to action that are drawn. The proposed ORPHIC framework for University-Regional Collaboration is a timely tool that provides a set of heuristics to policymakers and academic managers in developing new context-sensible policies and strategies. The pandemic and post-pandemic challenges make such frame even more valuable.
Professor Marco Bellandi, Dean of the School of Economics and Management, University of Florence