john goddard emeritus professor of regional development studies and formerly dvc n.
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john goddard emeritus professor of regional development studies and formerly dvc
John Goddard

(Emeritus Professor of Regional Development Studies and formerly DVC )

Re-inventing the civic university: lifelong learning in turbulent times

  • Debate about the role and purpose of higher education in contemporary society in response to the question: what are universities for?
  • Societal expectations of public universities e.g contributing to health and well being, environmental sustainability, cultural life, social inclusion
  • At least two distinct policy and practise communities
  • Knowledge exchange based on research – the triple helix of universities, business and government
  • Community engagement based on teaching
  • The civic university and social innoivation linking these together – the quadruple helix embracing civil society
why re invention
Why re-invention?
  • 19th cent. Origins of many UK universities in response to the challenges of rapid industrialisation and urbanisation
  • Research to support emerging industries, contribution to public health, educating the workforce and debate about scientific and societal challenges
  • 20th cent. Detachment of universities from place – nationalisation of HE
  • 21st cent. Challenges of globalisation and localisation – civic engagement as an outward and visible sign of the public good role of universities
turbulent times conflicting drivers
Turbulent times: conflicting drivers
  • Global rankings for academic research excellence and related research concentration
  • Marketisation of HE: a private rather than public good
  • To collaborate and compete with other universities
  • To respond to global challenges (e.g environmental and demographic change)
  • To link with business and the community
  • To be not just in but playing an active role in the development of the home city and region
regulating competition
Regulating competition
  • HEFCE as competition authority acting on behalf of the primarily student consumer
  • Preserving as many providers as possible however small or vulnerable or letting the ‘best, get bigger?
  • Competition as an end in itself (e.g anti-monopoly ) or a means to other ends?
  • What about non-economic objectives – world class HE system not just a few world class universities, access, social mobility, specific local communities served?
  • What about promotion of co-operation as much as competition – balancing different HE sector interests (mission groups) through deliberation and engagement?

Source: Roger King, Times Higher 5/12/12

the university and the public good
The University and the public good
  • “We treat our opportunities to do research not as a public trust but as a reward for success in past studies”
  • “Rewards for research are deeply tied up with the production of academic hierarchy and the relative standing of institutions” BUT
  • “Public support for universities is based on the effort to educate citizens in general, to share knowledge, to distribute it as widely as possible in accord with publically articulated purposes”

Calhoun (2006)

perceptions of the university
Perceptions of the university
  • “Local public agencies (like councils) often find the authority structure of universities opaque and diffuse; this is a barrier to collaboration. While the relative autonomy of faculty from the university administration is a virtue, and the tendency of academics to view the hierarchy of their discipline as more important than the hierarchy of university leadership is inevitable, it still leaves the problem for universities of how – as institutions – to mobilise to meet shared challenges and pursue overarching objectives”.

the university and the knowledge society
The University and the Knowledge Society
  • “The university is the institution in society most capable of linking the requirements of industry, technology and market forces with demands of citizenship. Given the enormous dependence of these forces on university based experts the university is in fact in a position of strength not weakness”
  • “The great significance of the university is that it can be the most important site of connectivity in the Knowledge society… (and)… a key institution for formation of cultural and technological citizenship … (and)… for reviving the decline of the public sphere”.

Gerard Delanty (2002)

defining social innovation
Defining social innovation
  • “Social innovations are innovations that are social in both their ends and their means. Specifically, we define social innovations as new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations. They are innovations that are not only good for society but also enhance society’s capacity to act. The process of social interactions between individuals undertaken to reach certain outcomes is participative, involves a number of actors and stakeholders who have a vested interest in solving a social problem, and empowers the beneficiaries.” (BEPA, 2011: 9-10).
multiple levels of social innovation
Multiple levels of social innovation
  • The (generally) grassroots social innovations that respond to pressing social demands not addressed by the market and are directed towards vulnerable groups in society;
  • A broader level that addresses societal challenges in which the boundary between ‘social’ and ‘economic’ blurs and which are directed towards society as a whole; and,
  • The systemic type that relates to fundamental changes in attitudes and values, strategies and policies, organisational structures and processes, delivery systems and services. Initiatives relating to actions to make citizens more aware of climate change and recycling are examples of this last category (BEPA, 2010: 10).
the quadruple helix
The quadruple helix
  • “Quadruple Helix (QH), with its emphasis on broad cooperation in innovation, represents a shift towards systemic, open and user-centric innovation policy. An era of linear, top-down, expert driven development, production and services is giving way to different forms and levels of coproduction with consumers, customers and citizens.” (Arnkil, et al, 2010)
  • “The shift towards social innovation also implies that the dynamics of ICT-innovation has changed. Innovation has shifted downstream and is becoming increasingly distributed; new stakeholder groups are joining the party, and combinatorial innovation is becoming an important source for rapid growth and commercial success. Continuous learning, exploration, co-creation, experimentation, collaborative demand articulation, and user contexts are becoming critical sources of knowledge for all actors in R&D & Innovation” (ISTAG 2010)
living labs
Living Labs
  • Empower citizens, as end users, to influence the development of innovative services and products that could eventually benefit society
  • Allow industry to develop, validate and integrate new ideas, to partner with other companies and to increase their chances of success during product and/or service launches
  • Facilitate the integration of technological innovation in society and increase the return on investment in research

EU Information Society



Helping civil society articulate demand so the resources of the university can be mobilised in an holistic wayto promote innovation


Facilitating networks and clusters

Stimulating innovation

Physical regeneration and capital projects

Helping businesses articulate demand

Human capital development


links and investment

Cultural development and ‘place making’

Complexity of the activity

Talent retention

Workforce development & CPD

Staff spin outs

Widening participation

Knowledge transfer partnerships

Lifelong learning

Talent attraction

Technology transfer

Student volunteering & community work

Innovation vouchers

Museums and galleries


Graduate enterprises

Academic Research

Consultancy services

Public lectures



Intervention type


Teaching &learning

Research & innovation

Social mission &engagement

the civic university responding to the challenge
The civic university: responding to the challenge
  • Provides opportunities for the society of which it is part (individual learners, businesses, public institutions)
  • Engages as a whole not piecemeal with its surroundings
  • Partners with other universities and colleges
  • Managed in a way that facilitates institution wide engagement with the city and region of which it is part
  • Operates on a global scale but uses its location to form its identity

NESTA (2009)

birmingham university
Birmingham University

“The vision of the founders of much of our higher education system, who sought to enable “the advancement of learning and enablement of life”, still provides us with a significant challenge to date these are aspiration which are enshrined I the charters of universities in many of our towns and cities and provide us with a benchmark for assessing the extent to which today’s institutions match these ideals. These founders were particularly interested in universities civilising influences and how they could boost economies and transform people within their communities and beyond”

David Eastwood , Vice Chancellor

newcastle university a world class civic university
Newcastle University: A World Class Civic University

“ The combination of being globally competitive and regionally rooted underpins our vision for the future. We see ourselves not only as doing high quality academic work … but also choosing to work in areas responsive to large scale societal needs and demands, particularly those manifested in our own city and region”

Chris Brink, VC

newcastle societal challenge themes
Newcastle Societal Challenge Themes
  • Ageing and Health
  • Sustainability
  • Social Renewal
newcastle institute for ageing and health
Newcastle Institute for Ageing and Health
  • Brings together basic, clinical, social and computer scientists and engineers to address engineers to address:
  • How and why we age
  • The treatment of associated disease and disability
  • The support of through-life health, wellbeing and independence
  • Research, training, public engagement, commercialisation
  • A means to engage with a wide, representative range of people public concerns and and their communities and to consult with them on key issues around ageing and demographic change
  • Identifying public concerns and providing real opportunities for lay people to become involved in shaping the future research and policy making
  • 3,000 people reflecting the age structure, geographical and socio-economic make up of the North East of England
  • A means to engage with a wide, representative range of people public concerns and and their communities and to consult with them on key issues around ageing and demographic change
  • Identifying public concerns and providing real opportunities for lay people to become involved in shaping the future research and policy making
  • 3,000 people reflecting the age structure, geographical and socio-economic make up of the North East of England
newcastle institute for research on sustainability
Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability
  • To bring people together from throughout the University AND the wider community to develop sustainable response to the great challenge of our age: ensuring everyone has access to a fair share of the world’s resources in perpetuity
  • Urban living; low carbon energy and transport; food security; water management; clean manufacturing
living labs the academic perspective
Living Labs : the academic perspective
  • “The notion of treating our city and its region as a seedbed for sustainability initiatives is a potent one… the vision is of academics academics out in the community, working with local groups and businesses on practical initiatives to solve problems and promote sustainable development and growth’
  • “This necessitates that we proceed in a very open manner, seeking to overcome barriers to thought, action and engagement; barriers between researchers and citizens, between the urban and the rural, between the social and natural sciences, between teaching research and enterprise”

Director of NiRES

ucl the wisdom economy 1
UCL: The Wisdom Economy 1
  • Wisdom – here defined as the judicious application of knowledge for the good of humanity – is the key to providing solutions to aspects of these global problems. Wisdom is the outcome of bringing together different and differing perspectives to address issues in their full complexity.
  • Working in partnership with government, commerce and society, the best universities can propose robust solutions to the problems articulated by those groups.
ucl wisdom economy 2
UCL Wisdom Economy 2
  • Establishing a culture of wisdom therefore requires transformative action:
  • respecting specialist knowledge, while dismantling the barriers to its cross-fertilisation
  • supporting the synthesis of new knowledge both within and across fields and disciplines
  • facilitating collective, collaborative working practices in order to gain fresh perspectives and, ultimately, wisdom
  • establishing and advocating policy and practice based upon the wise counsel so developed.
land grant universities in the us
Land grant universities in the US
  • “Land grant institutions, contrary to some popular belief, are not really about agricultural development, but rather, about changing the world in a positive, meaningful and enduring way. ...What is important in a land grant institution is developing future ethical leaders who will enrich their communities and their societies... these institutions are about admitting people who will make the difference to the state and the society”.
  • In US elite institution there is a “kind of curious disconnection between the university and society. In a land grant institution traditional scholarly endeavour still matters, but work that gives back to society receives special plaudits. It thus becomes easier for state legislatures and the people of the state to see why research is important to them, not merely to the advancement of individual researcher’s scholarly careers”

Robert Sternberg, Senior VP, Oklahoma State University

the practise survey evidence
The practise: survey evidence
  • Knowledge Exchange between Academics and the Business, Public and Third Sectors: 22,000 academics (UK-IRC, 2009)
  • Higher Education and Business and Community Interaction Survey (HEFCE, 2009-10)
academic external interaction activity and commercialisation activity of respondents
Academic external interaction activity and commercialisation activity (% of respondents)

UK-IRC, 2010

selected he bci income streams 2003 2010 real terms
Selected HE‑BCI income streams 2003-2010 (real terms)

Source: HE BCI Part B Tables 1, 2, 3 and 4c

defining the civic university
Defining the ‘civic university’
  • It has a sense of purpose – an understanding of not just what it is good at, but what it is good for. There is an explicit link to the wider social and economic domain, which may be expressed as an aspiration to tackle societal challenges or specific problems be they global or local or a combination of the two.
  • It is actively engaged with the wider world as well as the local community of the place in which it is located. This engagement is achieved through dialogue and collaborations with individuals, institutions and groups locally, nationally and globally.
  • It takes a holistic approach to engagement, seeing it as institution wide activity and not confined to specific individuals or teams.
  • It has a strong sense of place. While it may operate on a national and international scale, it recognises the extent to which is location helps to form its unique identity as an institution.
  • It is willing to invest in order to have impact beyond the academy. This includes releasing financial resources to support certain projects or activities, or to ‘unlock’ external sources of funding.
  • It is transparent and accountable to its stakeholders and the wider public.
  • It uses innovative methodologies such as social media and team building in its engagement activities with the world at large.
the university social innovation and lifelong learning
The university, social innovation and lifelong learning
  • The civic university as a social innovator behaves as a multi-level actor linking the global, national and local domains; it works across the silos of the disciplines and of the private & public sectors and links with both business and the community; it develops the boundary spanning and social entrepreneurship of the professionals it trains; it tests research ideas in ‘living labs’ and discovers the future through action rather than solely through analysis
  • The civic university fully integrates the teaching functions to the of serving the wider society. Lifelong learning ceases to be a cash cow but a core function delivering ‘knowledge exchange on legs’ and students who can connect the worlds of thought and action on an ongoing basis and as well rounded citizens