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Drivers of Transformation for Universities - Stakeholder Interaction in Regional Networks

In this introductory section, Sybille addresses the driving forces behind new approaches to innovation as well as new forms of academic interaction.

In this introductory section, we will address the driving forces behind new approaches to innovation as well as new forms of interaction between universities and their external stakeholders.

The global challenges of increasingly disruptive or radical transformations associated with climate change, digital transformation and growing global interdependence and inequalities calls for interdisciplinary, systemic, multi-stakeholder-based solutions.

As a result, there is a need for proactive networking and cooperation between universities, industry and state agencies, as well as for denser and more agile communication between researchers, developers, designers, customers/users, and citizens.

Grand societal challenges push mission-based research and innovation in state, university research and business support (Mazzucato (2018a), embedding technology development in societal needs and values aimed at sustainable forms.

Research on innovation systems focus on the quality of interaction between the different knowledge actors, rather than the mere stock of knowledge capital (see Reichert 2019, Mazzucato 2018b). The dynamics of an innovation system are determined by the quality of interaction in regional innovation processes and by their integration into networks of international knowledge production and innovation ideas, talents and resources. Accordingly, innovation processes need more flexible formats of interaction and cooperative funding incentives with regulatory framework conditions enabling such interaction.

The biological metaphor of the ecosystem underlines the interdependence of the actors, who need each other to leverage their innovative potential, the importance of an influx of vital ingredients for its dynamic development and regeneration, as well as the openness of the system to external influences.

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Please read the following pages and take notes:

Mazzucato, Mariana (2018a): Mission-oriented research & innovation in the European Union. A problem-solving approach to fuel innovation-led growth. Luxembourg: Publications Office, pp. 14-15, 23-26.

Reichert, Sybille (2019): The Role of Universities in Regional Innovation Ecosystems, pp.7-9, 11-14.

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