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Higher Education Excellence and Local Economic Development: The Case of the Entrepreneurial University of Twente

Luciana Lazzeretti () and Ernesto Tavoletti

European Planning Studies, 2005, vol. 13, issue 3, 475-493

Abstract: By tradition or intellectual necessity, universities pursue a main objective: increasing and transferring knowledge that is internationally relevant for the whole of mankind. But new powerful socio-economic forces are demanding universities to be engaged in regional economic development and their knowledge to be relevant in terms of local employment, university spin-offs and growth. These two objectives are traditionally considered as not complementary or even mutually exclusive. Through a case study regarding the Dutch University of Twente, this article shows that local economic relevance and international excellence are not incompatible objectives: they were not at the University of Twente; they can be reached even in a new born and poor endowed university, located in a peripheral, depressed and not industrialized countryside. This article argues that a strong entrepreneurial vision and the adoption of a different concept of knowledge may be the key for other small and peripheral European universities, in order to reach both local economic relevance and international excellence. The article will contribute and enrich the regional studies debate, introducing to it some higher education policy issues and ideas.

Date: 2005
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