The Europe 2020 strategy highlights the key role of innovation in contributing to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Regions are important sites for innovation because of the opportunities they provide for interaction be- tween businesses, public authorities and civil societies.
In meeting major societal challenges, which have both a global and local dimension, universities and other higher education institutions have a key role to play in knowledge creation and its translation into innovative products and public and private services, a process that can engage the creative arts and social sciences as well as scientists and technologists. This role has been highlighted in the agenda adopted by the Commission in September 2011 for the modernisation of Europe’s higher education systems.
The guide bridges three knowledge and policy domains – education, research and innovation - the so called knowledge triangle (as described in Innovation Union1 [COM(2010)546]. Public authorities seeking to mobilise universities2 in support of regional development need some knowledge of all three domains, in particular national and regional policy makers involved in designing and delivering innovation strategies for smart specialisation as well as Managing Authorities designated by the Member States for implementing the Operational Programmes of the Cohesion Policy3. The guide provides an introduction into these worlds but can only scratch the surface.
The guide seeks to:
- provide an analysis of how universities can impact upon regions and how they can be mobilised for regional economic, social and cultural development.
- illustrate (by use of examples from around the EU) some of the potential delivery mechanisms that can be used to maximize the contribution of universities to regional growth
- outline the key success factors in building university/regional partnership, particularly the drivers and barriers on both sides behind such partnership working and how these barriers may be overcome.
- position potential programmes and interventions within the framework for ERDF support