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Impact of Research and Innovation Networks on Regional Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs. Jeremy Howells Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, University of Manchester. Aims and Objectives.

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Impact of research and innovation networks on regional competitiveness the role of heis l.jpg

Impact of Research and Innovation Networks on Regional Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs

Jeremy Howells

Manchester Institute of Innovation Research,

University of Manchester


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Aims and Objectives Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs

  • Main objective is to develop a better understanding of the impacts of HEIs on the innovativeness and competitiveness of regional economies.

  • To identify the various avenues through which universities interact with local firms, businesses and other intermediaries in relation to research and innovative activity.

  • Analyse how this, in turn, influences firm performance and the overall competitiveness of local and regional economies.


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Project Background: I Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs

  • Start date: 1 April 2007

  • Project team: Jeremy Howells, Ronnie Ramlogan, Shu-Li Cheng, Davide Consoli, Dimitri Gagliardi, Elvira Uyarra (Manchester) Rebecca Boden (UWIC) and Fiona Lettice (UEA)

  • Progress: Literature review completed; pilot survey of HEIs to start shortly; firm level survey end 2007


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Project Background: II Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs

  • Project taking three perspectives:

    - HEI/university

    - firm

    - region

  • 3 UK ‘regions’: North West, Wales and East of England

  • 2 major surveys:

    - 15+ HEIs across 3 regions (3X5)

    - c. 6,000 firms across 3 regions


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University versus Firm Perspective: I Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs

  • Universities now seen as key actors in the innovation system; increasing recognition in their own strategy documents and government policies

  • Universities performance improving over a number of different research and technology transfer measures

  • Universities in the UK actually perform well on a number of standard research and technology transfer indicators (except patents)….


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Good UK International Performance… Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs

Number per 100 million US PPP $ research expenditures


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University versus Firm Perspectives: II Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs

  • However, taking a university-only perspective is dangerous…..

  • … long been established and recognised that firms as consumers, users and collaborators of university outputs have a very different view of their value which is salutatory…..


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Importance of Universities: UK CIS4 Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs


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Importance of Universities: UK CIS4 Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs


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Gaps and Contributions: I Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs

Issue of perspective seen as a central element in this study. More specifically:

1. Economic impacts, but little on the specifics of research and innovation impacts and wider competitiveness (c.f. links)

2. What studies there have been, have focused on a limited set of direct, tangible research links (research revenue, IP income, patents, etc.) rather than more indirect, less tangible innovation impacts


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Gaps and Contributions: II Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs

3. Focus still largely on the university (supply) rather than the firm (demand); tend also to ignore co-joint developments (supply & demand nexus)

4. Although focus has been on HEIs, in relation to strategy, management and operational practices (routines) still largely treated as ‘black boxes’

5. No real attempt to see how this plays out between and within regions (systemic view)


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Project Progress: Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs

  • Classification and typology of universities and HEIs crucial to ‘anchoring’ our project – cluster analysis nearing completion

  • Selection of universities and compilation of firm database

  • Exploratory basic mapping and measuring exercise of university links

  • Seeking to develop/identify new metrics/indicators

  • Roll out of surveys


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HEI Typology and Cluster Analysis: I Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs

  • Typology/classification of 170+ universities/HEIs key in our analysis

  • Completing a cluster analysis of HEIs using HEBCIS and other data. Using c. 12 indicators and metrics that seek to measure various dimensions:

    • size;

    • research profile;

    • teaching orientation;

    • third mission;

    • social inclusion and accessibility

    • (static v. change)


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HEI Typology and Cluster Analysis: II Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs

  • 6-7 clusters

  • Issues of outliers; robustness; Open University

  • Different groups, e.g.:

    • ‘Elite research’

    • ‘Emergent dynamics’

    • ‘Inclusive access’

    • ‘Research specialist’

    • ‘Stable mainstream’

    • ‘Expansionist research’

    • ‘Small niche’


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Mapping and Measuring Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs


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Conclusions and Issues: Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs

  • Universities, firms and regions – different ‘units of observation’ makes it complex and messy

  • Different scalar levels important but difficult – nations/regions, organisations, sub-units, groups, individuals and ‘knowledge objects’

  • Developing new metrics and typologies on innovation links and impacts - non-trivial issue

  • Key connection needs to be explored between: links Þ impacts Þ competitiveness


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Thank You Competitiveness: The Role of HEIs

jeremy.howells@mbs.ac.uk