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Opportunities and challenges for universities in knowledge regions

The Rise of Knowledge Regions: Emerging Opportunities and Challenges for Universities. Reichert, Sybille. European University Association (EUA), November 2006. ISBN: 9789081069854. Pages: 59 (online version).

Sybille Reichert’s essay, commissioned by the European University Association, propagates the  emerging phenomenon of the 'proactive knowledge region'. One of the characteristics of a knowledge region is increasing cooperation between different types of knowledge actors at the regional level, such as governmental agencies, knowledge-based businesses and universities. Providing various degrees of  insight on this cooperation, the publication gives particular attention to the role of the university.

Reichert explores four European city-regions – Barcelona, Brno, Manchester and the trans-national region of Øresund (covering also Copenhagen, Roskilde, Malmø, Lund, and Kristianstad). The universities of these cities are identified as ‘the heart of the knowledge regions’. On the basis of these target areas, Reichert points to five university functions for better promotion of knowledge regions:

  • identify important new developments in science and technology, but also in society and culture;
  • educate and train human capital for expanding the knowledge region’s economy;
  • provide the research base for the knowledge economy;
  • transfer or exchange knowledge that is not directly commercialisable (e.g. education on inter-religious dialogue or environmental protection), yet valued by the community; and
  • stimulate individual creativity, an asset for knowledge-based economy.

The study concludes that the knowledge region can only exist with intimate interaction between universities, businesses, regional agencies, and citizens.

The rise of knowledge regions