Supporting Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Higher Education in Austria

image of Supporting Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Higher Education in Austria

The Austrian higher education system has consistently recognised the need to become more entrepreneurial and innovative with a view to supporting the economic, social and cultural development of the country and its regions. Over the past decades, the government has been implementing a broad reform agenda to provide strategic funding, diversify higher education institutions (HEIs) and promote an allocation of students that improves the quality of services and empowers them vis à vis the future of work and society.

This review illustrates policy actions promoting the development of entrepreneurial and innovative activities in the Higher Education System and individual HEIs. In addition, based on information gathered during study visits, the review discusses strategies and practices adopted by Austrian HEIs to innovate, engage, and generate value for their own ecosystems and networks. The review is part of a series of national reports implementing the HEinnovate framework. HEinnovate is a holistic framework that the OECD and the European Commission have developed to promote the “entrepreneurial and innovation agenda” in higher education.


Leadership and governance in Austrian higher education institutions

This chapter focuses on the “leadership and governance” dimension of the HEInnovate Guiding Framework, as it applies to the case of Austria. This review clearly identified that national and regional authorities, as well as higher education institution (HEI) leaders, have made the entrepreneurial and innovation agenda their priority. Indeed, Austrian higher education institutions play a very active and substantial role in the development of their economic, social and cultural surroundings. Many show clear strengths in terms of their commitment to the entrepreneurial and innovation agenda. However, the review identified a need to introduce more flexible governance mechanisms and specific initiatives to strengthen the organisational capacity of institutions. This should promote their collaboration and engagement activities in the context of advancing the national entrepreneurial and innovation agenda. The chapter assesses all these issues and provides Austrian authorities with some recommendations.


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