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Alan Sanderson, Paul Benneworth (Translation ed. by: Olga Perfilieva)

The Regional Engagement of Universities: Building Capacity in a Sparse Innovation Environment

2012. Vol. 7. No. 1. P. 172–188 [issue contents]

There are increasing pressures for universities to commercialise their research and increase their contributions to their local and regional environments. For those institutions located in areas of low demand, this can lead to a low-impact equilibrium of universities working with external partners, and having relatively low impact. In such circumstances, universities have to “build up” local demand for their knowledge. But this is long-term, costly and volatile, and so partnership and collaborative models of capacity building may be one way for universities to maximise the benefits whilst minimising the risks. In this paper, the authors explore how capacity in such situations builds up, and whether university regional associations (URAs) can help universities to develop regional capacity in such situations. The case study demonstrates that URAs can become a focal point for a community of regionally engaged university actors. It is this community which can help universities to rationalise and make sense of local uncertainties, and thereby increase total university regional contributions.

The article explore the way in which one particular established knowledge transfer institution in one region has made the transition from a one-off project to established regional institution. The authors examine the case of the organisation “Knowledge House” in the North East of England, which built up a strong community of individuals providing the service of getting academics to answer business questions. This community has become important to the partner universities in demonstrating commitment to engagement, and embodies an attractive promise of further potential for commercialisation if external parties invest in the universities. 

Citation: Sanderson Alan , Benneworth Paul (2012) Uchastie universitetov v regional'nom razvitii: sozdanie potentsiala v usloviyakh maloinnovatsionnoy sredy [The Regional Engagement of Universities: Building Capacity in a Sparse Innovation Environment] INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS RESEARCH JOURNAL, 1, pp. 172-188 (in Russian)
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