Little is known about the relation between HEIs’ internal social capital and external social capital building. Instead research has mostly focused on external social capital building. This is often done with a focus on researchers’ collaboration with the surrounding environment. In Sweden university colleges have a tradition of collaboration with the regional environment. In university colleges researchers generally accept a central steering that emphasizes collaboration. This differs from the studied HEIs situated in the city capital. In such HEIs it could be a challenge to centrally encourage collaboration. One explanation for this difference is the relation between HEIs’ internal and external social capital. This suggests that building of external social capital within HEIs is not related to the nature of the internal social capital.