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Reforming higher education in Portugal in times of uncertainty: The importance of illities, as non-functional requirements


  • Heitor, Manuel
  • Horta, Hugo


This article shows that higher education reforms can create opportunities for higher education institutions (HEIs) to thrive under a legal umbrella that may reinforce their legitimacy, mandate, and contribution for societal development. This requires a profound consideration of illities affecting HEIs, including but not limited to affordability, accessibility, quality, capacity, adaptability and autonomy. The analysis, based on the Portuguese reform of higher education in the period 2006–2010, allows the identification of different policy implications in distinct orthogonal dimensions. Accessibility and affordability are found to be required to broaden the social basis of the “knowledge pyramid”, while capacity and quality require policies oriented to pull-up the top of that pyramid. The need to foster effective institutional autonomy and integrity of modern higher education institutions is reinforced in a context where innovation must be considered together with competence building and advanced training of people to work in increasingly globalized economies and labour markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Heitor, Manuel & Horta, Hugo, 2016. "Reforming higher education in Portugal in times of uncertainty: The importance of illities, as non-functional requirements," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 113(PB), pages 146-156.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:tefoso:v:113:y:2016:i:pb:p:146-156
    DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2015.09.027

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Horta, Hugo & Patrício, Maria Teresa, 2016. "Setting-up an international science partnership program: A case study between Portuguese and US research universities," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 113(PB), pages 230-239.
    2. Manuel Heitor, 2008. "A system approach to tertiary education institutions: towards knowledge networks and enhanced societal trust," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(8), pages 607-617, October.
    3. Michael Shriberg & Kathryn Harris, 2012. "Building sustainability change management and leadership skills in students: lessons learned from “Sustainability and the Campus” at the University of Michigan," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 2(2), pages 154-164, June.
    4. Pedro Conceição & Manuel V Heitor, 1999. "On the role of the university in the knowledge economy," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 37-51, February.
    5. Nicholas Barr, 2004. "Higher Education Funding," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 264-283, Summer.
    6. Jamil Salmi & Alenoush Saroyan, 2007. "League Tables as Policy Instruments: Uses and Misuses," Higher Education Management and Policy, OECD Publishing, vol. 19(2), pages 1-38.
    7. Füller, Johann & Schroll, Roland & von Hippel, Eric, 2013. "User generated brands and their contribution to the diffusion of user innovations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 1197-1209.
    8. Harold Fried & Suthathip Yaisawarng, 2003. "Guest Editors' Introduction," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 123-125, April.
    9. Baptista, Rui & Lima, Francisco & Mendonça, Joana, 2011. "Establishment of higher education institutions and new firm entry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 751-760, June.
    10. Barr, Nicholas, 2004. "Higher education funding," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 288, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Fumi Kitagawa, 2009. "Creating Critical Mass of Research Excellence in the Region: The Case of Scottish Research Pooling Initiatives," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 487-495, March.
    12. Heitor, Manuel & Horta, Hugo & Mendonça, Joana, 2014. "Developing human capital and research capacity: Science policies promoting brain gain," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 6-22.
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