The University and the Economy
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The University and the Economy

Pathways to Growth and Economic Development

Aldo Geuna and Federica Rossi

This book provides readers with an in-depth understanding of the many ways in which universities contribute to economic development and growth. It demonstrates the causal interactions between universities’ activities and economic outcomes, and presents up-to-date quantitative and qualitative data in support. The authors present the theoretical tools and evidence to explain the manner and degree to which universities’ activities impact the economy, as well as analysing the comparative strengths and weaknesses of specific university systems.
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Chapter 6: University funding and research assessment: an analysis of Italian and British cases

Aldo Geuna, Matteo Piolatto and Mauro Sylos Labini


The changes that have taken place in public administration since the early 1980s, on a global scale as well as at a local level, have brought about its transformation and as a consequence a reshaping of higher education. Against a historically complex backdrop, the forces at work in transforming the features of university funding and management were both diverse and mainly external to higher education itself. A significant restructuring of public university government and funding was undertaken in various European countries at various times throughout this period. The United Kingdom was the first country in Europe to move away from a grant system allocated on a historical basis to introduce formula-based funding and, by the end of the 1980s, performance-based funding for research. Italy, instead, has been undergoing an extensive period of change (only partially completed) which started in the late 1980s and which has culminated only recently in the introduction of a performance-based system of research funding inspired by that of the United Kingdom. This chapter will discuss these two university funding systems with special focus on research funding through research assessment.

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