Tag: economic development

News: Report in UK highlights role of universities in public and private sector

UUKUniversities UK (UUK) has published a new report examining the role of UK universities in the economy. Universities UK was established in 1918 and is a network of 133 executive heads (vice-chancellors/principals) of universities in the UK. The organization is funded through its members and works as an advocate for the sector.

The new report is a part of their series regarding “The funding environment for universities”, with emphasis in this issue being on economic development, regional growth and labour market issues.

Examining national data, the report rather explicitly places higher education to a market relevant position, identifying the sector as a “high-growth UK export industry”, aside having a role in skills production and innovation. The report collected data for 2011-2012 year and highlights that the sector generated over 100 billion euros in output, employing over 375 000 people. Together with additional jobs that are dependent on universities, the sector stands fro 2,7% of UK employment in 2011.

The report further highlights the role of universities in innovation and knowledge production (knowledge exchange, commercialization, indirect innovation and network creation, and entrepreneurship support services), as well as producing the necessary skills. The report highlights that: “The UK is seeing a growth in high-wage analytical, non-routine jobs; an expansion ofmanual low-wage roles; and a contraction of middle-wage jobs” (p.4), emphasizing the role of universities in this shift. In the press release of the report, UUK cites Dame Julia Goodfellow, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent, who highlights: “The UK must ensure that the higher-level skills required in the labour market are met and our universities have an important role to play in meeting this demand, both through their more traditional model of three-year undergraduate university study, and by developing other routes  to higher skills.” She continues further: “Universities are a globally recognised source of innovation and research and, in turn, attract direct foreign investment. They generate knowledge and discovery that can boost both the private and the public sectors.

Innovation policies in the Nordic countries – different national policy debates?

In June 2012, the research group HEIK at the Faculty of Education in University of Oslo held an international open seminar titled “The challenge of the Research, Development & Innovation (RDI) role of Higher Education Institutions: different national policy debates and institutional developments in Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden“.

We are delighted to be able to offer you the possibility to listen to these presentations here on the Hedda blog as well.

Speakers at this seminar included Mats Benner (Lund University and Uppsala University), Peter Maassen (University of Oslo), Bjørn Stensaker (University of Oslo) and Kaare Aagaard (Århus University).

The main starting point for the seminar was that in recent decades one can identify a series of large scale reforms, where higher education increasingly has to deal with complex tasks beyond the traditional teaching and research activities. A growing number of societal problems call for a closer connection between innovation and higher education – however, what do we really know about current RDI policies in the Nordic countries and what have been the experiences this far?

You can download the background paper further reflecting on the topic of the seminar at the HEIK homepage, and listen to the introductory presentation and presentations of four country cases here.

Call for Papers: Conference on higher education and economic development

The International Conference on Higher Education and Economic Development will be held 03-05th of September 2012 on the island of Mauritius. The aim is to bring together researchers and professionals across the world to discuss higher education and economic development.

The speakers for the conference include  Jamil Salmi, Manuel Castells, Nico Cloete, Peter Maassen and Pundy Pillay.  You can read more about the speakers here.

The call for the conference invites papers focused on four main themes:

  • Making tertiary education a major pillar of developing economies.
  • The role of tertiary education in innovation and sustainable development.
  • Towards market driven tertiary education
  • Contemporary issues in tertiary education

The deadline for submiting abstracts has been extended to Friday July 6th. Read more about the procedures on the conference website.

Guest blogger: Economic growth and higher education policies in Brazil – a link?

Simon Schwartzman

Simon Schwartzman – senior researcher at the Instituto de Estudos do Trabalho e Sociedade in Rio de Janeiro.

In this guest entry, Simon Schwartzman examines the link between economic growth and higher education expansion. He argues that this links exists, but not in the expected direction; economic growth is the cause, not the product of the expansion of higher education and research. However, this situation may be changing now, with the growing demand for qualified manpower and research capabilities by the knowledge economy.

This post was originally published as at International Higher Education (issue 67), but is being reposted with permission from the author. 

Brazil is one of the new “emerging economies.” It is flexing its muscles to become a leading international player, and thus, it needs good university institutions capable to produce the scientists and engineers needed to keep the momentum. Therefore, clear policies are required, to improve the standards of universities and the quality of higher education institutions, based on a clear identification of priorities. However, contrary to the assumptions and expectations of external observers, Brazil does not have such a strategy.

Brazil experienced cycles of rapid economic growth in the 1930s, after World War II, in the 1970s, and again after 2002. Each of these cycles can be explained by favorable external conditions—the revenues created by the agricultural and mining sectors, the influx of international investments, and the use of such resources to finance a growing public sector, the steady transfer of the population from the countryside to the urban centers, and generating a growing internal consumption market. These developments were also preceded by internal reorganizations of the economy, controlling inflation and increasing the governments’ ability to raise taxes, as it happened in the late 1960s and more recently in the 1990s. In none of these cycles is a causal link found between investments in education, science, and technology and economic growth.

Guest blogger: Tensions and contradictions surrounding universities’ regional missions

Romulo Pinheiro

Romulo Pinheiro

This post is written by Romulo Pinhero who has recently submitted his PhD dissertation at the Faculty of Education in University of Oslo. He is currently a senior researcher at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Regional Innovation Strategies, in Agder, Norway, and is an assistant professor at University of Oslo where he works with the Hedda Master programme on higher education. His PhD dissertation focuses on the relationship between higher education and regional development, and he is also one of the authors for an upcoming book on the topic. In this post he will share some of the conceptual underpinnings of the upcoming book. 

Universities are increasingly expected to play a role in socio-economic development, both at the national and local levels. This is particularly the case when it comes to those institutions located within regions facing a number of inter-related challenges like poverty, crime, unemployment, industrial decline, etc.

The literature on the role of universities in development can be characterized around three types of studies: impact studies, focusing on the measurable, often econometric effects (inputs and output factors) accrued to the presence of the university in a given locality; policy studies, shedding light on the mechanisms aiding universities’ role in regional development; and in-depth case stories, pinpointing the contextual circumstances (internal arrangements, local partnerships, incentive systems, etc.) underpinning regional engagement by universities.

In spite of increasing interest in the topic, both by policy making and academic communities alike, little attention has been paid to the “real” dilemmas universities and academics face while attempting to engage with their regional surroundings.