Universities’ entrepreneurial activity and regional competitiveness

February 6, 2023

Higher education institutions, broadly labelled as ‘universities’, are considered essential actors in the promotion of economic and cultural growth in the modern knowledge society. Often, they are affected by regional stakeholders and are expected to adjust their strategies in order to contribute to technological and economic specialization at the regional level.

Overall impact of Entrepreneurial University factors on regional competitiveness.
Caption: Overall impact of Entrepreneurial University factors on regional competitiveness.

A commonly accepted definition of an Entrepreneurial University is that it provides the right environment for researchers to generate, transform and commercialize their knowledge and technology. The impact of universities’ entrepreneurial activity on regional competitiveness is complex. Notwithstanding, the dominant view in the literature is that universities foster economic growth primarily through the commercialization of scientific research either by means of patent licensing or creating spin-off companies as this constitutes immediate, measurable market acceptance for outputs of academic research.

The aim of this study is to test the multiple dimensions of the Entrepreneurial University concept, by assessing whether Entrepreneurial University factors make a positive contribution to regional competitiveness. Data were collected from ten Portuguese public universities through a self-administered questionnaire.

The study is consistent with universities being centers of generation and dissemination of knowledge that enhance the competitiveness of the regions. Regardless of the domain of regional competitiveness–employment typology (i.e., employment density; high technology employment; employment level of persons with high degree), income, and knowledge/innovation–the paper finds that Entrepreneurial University factors make a relevant contribution to regional competitiveness, with two factors being especially relevant ‘entrepreneurial supporting measures’ and ‘international collaboration‘ dimension (see figure).

Click here to go to the paper by Gonçalo Rodrigues Brás, Miguel Torres Preto, Ana Dias Daniel, and Aurora A. C. Teixeira.


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