Knowledge, Diversity and Performance in European Higher Education

Knowledge, Diversity and Performance in European Higher Education

A Changing Landscape

Edited by Andrea Bonaccorsi

For the first time, data on individual European higher education institutions (rather than data aggregated at the country level) is used in order to examine a wide range of issues that are both theoretically challenging and relevant from policy-making and societal perspectives. The contributors integrate statistics on universities and colleges with other sources of information such as patents, start-up firms and bibliometric data, and employ rigorous empirical methods to address a range of key questions, including: what is the role of non-university tertiary education, such as vocational training? How important is the private sector? Are European universities internationalized? Are they efficient from the point of view of costs and educational output? Are there pure research universities in Europe? How do universities contribute to economic growth?

Chapter 6: Institutional and regional factors behind university patenting in Europe: an exploratory spatial analysis using EUMIDA data

Attila Varga and Márton Horváth

Subjects: business and management, management and universities, economics and finance, economics of education, economics of innovation, education, economics of education, management and universities, innovation and technology, economics of innovation


Over the past 30 years universities have been increasingly considered as key instruments of regional economic development policy in many countries of the world (Pike et al., 2011). High expectations towards positive regional economic impacts of academic institutions are partly supported by the experience of some leading technology areas where knowledge transfer from universities successfully nurtured regional economic growth (Saxenian, 1994; Wicksteed et al., 2000; Goldstein, 2002) and partly by research findings in the scientific literature, providing strong empirical evidence as to the important role of spatial proximity of firms to academic institutions in knowledge transfer (Varga,1998). It became clear relatively soon to researchers in this area that a pure proximity of a university is not a guarantee for growth, as regional-and university-level characteristics are both instrumental in determining the extent to which university-supported economic development might be considered as a realistic option for a region. Without some preconditions in the locality even a world-class research university might exert only negligible impacts on the local economy (Feldman, 1994). The literature shows that below a certain threshold of agglomeration of the local knowledge industry (including innovative firms, private research labs, business services, supporting institutions) hopes for a significant university impact are more or less non-realistic as indicated by US (Varga, 2000; Koo, 2007) and European (Varga et al., 2013) investigations.

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