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Understanding the Regional Contribution of Higher Education Institutions: A Literature Review

  • Peter Arbo
  • Paul Benneworth
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    The contribution of higher education institutions to regional development is a theme that has attracted growing attention in recent years. Knowledge institutions are increasingly expected not only to conduct education and research, but also to play an active role in the economic, social and cultural development of their regions. The extent to which higher education institutions are able to play this role depends on a number of circumstances: the characteristics of the institutions, the regions in which they are located and the policy frameworks are all significant. At the same time, there are signs of more fundamental conceptual and strategic confusion. The discussions in this domain are frequently characterised by slogans and popular metaphors. This literature review was prepared to support the OECD project entitled 'Supporting the Contribution of Higher Education Institutions to Regional Development', which was conducted by the OECD Programme on Institutional Management in Higher Education (IMHE) in collaboration with the Directorate of Public Governance and Territorial Development. Drawing mainly from a selection of European and North American publications, the report takes an overall view on the development of higher education institutions in the regional context. It focuses on the evolution and discourses of higher education and research, the regional aspects of higher education policies, the various functions and roles that the institutions play, measures taken to link the universities with their regional partners, and the conditions which favour or hamper stronger regional engagement. La contribution de l'enseignement supérieur au développement régional suscite depuis plusieurs années un intérêt toujours croissant. De plus en plus, on attend des institutions en charge du savoir non seulement qu'elles mènent les activités liées à l'enseignement et à la recherche, mais aussi qu'elles prennent une part active au développement économique, social et culturel de leur région. La marge de manoeuvre dont disposent les établissements d'enseignement supérieur pour remplir ce rôle varie selon certains facteurs : les caractéristiques de l'établissement, la région et le cadre politique dans lesquels il s'inscrit sont autant de critères significatifs. Par ailleurs, on identifie également les signes d'une confusion conceptuelle et stratégique plus profonde, les débats sur ce sujet étant souvent caractérisés par les slogans et les métaphores populaires. Cette analyse bibliographique a été préparée en soutien au projet de l'OCDE intitulé « Appuyer la contribution des institutions d'enseignement supérieur au développement régional », mené par le Programme de l'OCDE sur la gestion des établissements d'enseignement supérieur (IMHE) en coopération avec la Direction de la gouvernance publique et du développement territorial. À partir d'une sélection de publications principalement européennes et nord-américaines, ce rapport adopte une vue d'ensemble sur le développement des établissements d'enseignement supérieur dans le contexte régional. Il cible notamment l'évolution et les débats dans l'enseignement supérieur et la recherche, le volet régional des politiques d'enseignement supérieur, les divers fonctions et rôles que remplissent les établissements, les mesures prises pour relier les universités à leurs partenaires régionaux, ainsi que les conditions qui favorisent ou freinent un engagement régional plus marqué.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/161208155312
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    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Education Working Papers with number 9.

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    Date of creation: 09 Jul 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:oec:eduaab:9-en
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