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?
Although the role of universities in the knowledge society is increasingly significant, there remains a severe lack of systematic quantitative evidence at the micro-level, with virtually all policy discussion based on country level statistics or case studies. This book redresses the balance by examining original data from universities in six European countries – Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.