Reporting website
of the European Week of Regions and Cities
| 2017
Universities as agents of change in regions and cities
The workshop gave rise to some fruitful discussions and interactions between the audience and the speakers. We have tried to summarise the main points that emerged below: • Ideas come from students, but universities can guide them and provide the framework. • Universities should be seen as actors of change and developers of human capital. • Universities should also engage practitioners, training should not only be provided by the academics but by entrepreneurs too. • It is important that universities participate in the planning of the Smart Specialisation Strategies. • It is important to build networks that work together for long periods rather than projects only. • Innovation in higher education: how can we measure output and impact? Certainly not with a one-size-fits-all assessment. • In the assessment of the innovation performance of the universities, we need to go beyond regional collaborations and recognise how universities contribute to regional potential by acting as a hub in international R& D networks. • Some important aspects for Smart Specialisation Strategies regarding universities have emerged: 1. Political support is needed, not only money. 2. More synergies could be created. 3. Human Talent is crucial. 4. Education, research, innovation = an interdependent system. • Each Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) is a network of networks as it links universities from different regions in Europe, which already have their own network.
Take away message
The workshop discussed the incentives for universities to contribute to innovation and regional development, and the bottlenecks preventing them from doing so. The issues are complex and range from the role of universities in developing human capital, taking part in the reflection on research and innovation priorities, to the legal aspects and framework and funding arrangements. Universities need incentives to innovate. Their impact on innovation can be improved through guidance, based on assessment.
  • Regions & cities as change agents

    Regions & cities as change agents




October 11




  • Markku Markkula, Vice-President, European Committee of the Regions
  • John Edwards, Research Officer, European Commission, Joint Research Centre
  • Cristiano Cagnin, Centro de Gestão e Estudos Estratégicos
  • Koen Jonkers, Deputy Head of Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre
  • Lidia Borrell-Damian, Director for Research and Innovation, European University Association
  • Rahul Bansal, Deputy Director Education, Climate-Kic Central Office