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19 May - "Anchor universities are essential change agents in Europe’s regional economies" Lecture by Robert Tijssen, University of Leiden, The Netherlands

The visit of Robert Tijssen is organised in collaboration with Rosa Grimaldi from the Department of Management.

May 19, 2020 from 03:00 PM to 05:00 PM

Where Sala Rossa, Palazzo Marchesini, via Marsala 26, Bologna (first floor)

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Many research-intensive universities in Europe are now also subjected to government pressures and stakeholder expectations to contribute more to local and regional socioeconomic development. There is a major lacuna in our knowledge and systematic understanding of how European universities are responding to these changes. Are they managing to reconcile (potentially conflicting) impacts on their organisational mission, daily operations and competitive strategies. Are they increasingly trying to play on all fields, both localising and globalising? Or are they indeed shifting their attention to issues and engagement in the local area, and becoming an ‘anchor university’ more firmly rooted in their home town community and regional economy? Because each university and its socio-economic environment creates a unique set of opportunities and challenges, the response of universities to those pressures and expectations will inevitably be place- and context-dependent. But at the same time we may expect to find general patterns and trends across similar-type universities operating under comparable circumstances.

In this presentation I will focus on research-intensive universities and how they engage with local R&D-active firms. Unpicking university-specific factors from general factors, I will address two questions related to university-industry R&D cooperation: how important is the spatial distance between the university and its local or regional partners in the business sector? How place-dependent and distance-dependent are the ‘pull factors’ affecting these cooperation patterns? I will present an analytical framework and measurement methodology that enables some degree of comparison across research-intensive universities in Europe. The aggregate level data enables an empirical study of university-industry cooperation at the level of European countries and their regions. The findings on various individual universities (including UNIBO) highlights the different types of collaboration patterns, which opens up opportunities to identify ‘anchor universities’ and study their potential as major contributors to regional economic development.