Tomorrow's Economy

Higher education and regional growth

22 May 2018

Local contexts and global challenges

Rick Wylie
Matej Kastelic /

This book focuses on the many ways in which universities can impact upon the development of regions and what the implications of this are for regional policy. The breadth of their regional role is often unappreciated and the influence of a university spans most sectors within a region. Through their intervention and innovation with partners in the social sector and community projects, universities can affect the lives of many members of the community via their applied research and aspiration raising activities. They create new knowledge, realise it commercially and fix it locally; as businesses in their own right they engage thousands of staff and students; and the prestige a university’s presence bestows upon a city, town, region and nation is seen as important. Regions that do not have one feel denied access to the, sometimes nebulous, things a university can provide. But what actually are those things? Well, that is the focus of this book.

Drawing upon the experiences of practitioners and scholars, and insights from case studies of policy and institutional programmes, the contributions in this book explore the role of universities in a regional context, in particular their contribution to social and economic development. The contributions also reveal the dynamic nature of the higher education sector and the flux of institutional and governmental policies, and comment upon the emergence of new institutions which shape this key educational sector. They also reveal the nature of regions, their changing geographies and the scaling and rescaling of power relations within regions shaped by the drivers of globalisation, the scope and scale of commercial and knowledge capital and the tensions between regional development and the mobility of knowledge, skills and individuals.