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Universities and Innovation in the Knowledge Economy

Cases from English Regions

Institutional Management in Higher Education

The last decade has seen a growing increase in policy discourse in many countries on entrepreneurship and innovation with a prominent emphasis on the role to be played by universities. However, it is far from clear to what extent institutional behaviours are influenced by this enterprising policy discourse based on the broad assumption that “knowledge” is the most precious asset for economic growth in the knowledge economy. This article examines the links developing between the universities and innovation processes especially at the regional level as observed in the United Kingdom, highlighting interactions between public policy and institutional behaviour in a multi-level governance (MLG) structure of knowledge production. Different strategic processes of networking between universities and the links universities are developing with Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and other partners in nine English regions are illustrated in light of recent government policies which influence the resources and strategies of universities. Universities need to be analysed as critical actors in regional development processes, and their wide range of activities and strategies at different geographical levels need to be strategically co-ordinated as part of a territorial development process within the globalising knowledge economy.

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