Supporting the contribution of higher education institutions to regional development - reviews and reports 2005-07


The North East of England | Sunshine-Fraser Coast, Australia
Twente, the Netherlands
Busan, South Korea | Värmland, SwedenÖresund, Denmark-Sweden
Jyväskylä Region, Finland | Mid-Norwegian Region | Jutland-Funen, Denmark
Valencia, Spain | Canary Islands, Spain | Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Atlantic Canada, Canada | North Paraná, Brazil


Self-Evaluation Report and Peer Review Report

Each regional review produced two reports i.e. the Self-Evaluation Report and Peer Review Report. Fourteen regions in 12 countries participated in the project. Visits took place from October 2005 to September 2006. Feedback on the process and impact of the review was collected from the participating regions with the help of online questionnaire in Dec 2007. According to the feedback the review had improved collaboration between the HEIs and national and regional stakeholders.
See feedback from the region.

The North East of England: 9-15 Oct 2005

Review Team:
Chris Duke
Robert Hassink (University of Oslo)
James Powell (University of Salford)
Jaana Puukka (OECD Secretariat)

The North East of England has the most distinct regional identity among the nine English regions. Inter-university cooperation is a distinctive strength in the region that is battling to recover its prosperity. The North East offers a model for other regions to learn about collaboration for development and higher education institutions’ role in it. According to the OECD Peer Review Report the main obstacle to more complete involvement of the HEIs is the ambivalence of central government to regional devolution, and the policy tensions between different departments of state.

Sunshine-Fraser Coast, Australia: 30 Oct - 5 Nov 2005

Review Team:
David Charles (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)
Lyn Tait (the University Presidents’ Council of British Columbia)
Scott Bowman (James Cook University)
Steve Garlick (University of the Sunshine Coast)

The Sunshine-Fraser Coast is a rapidly growing coastal region located to the North of Brisbane in South East Queensland. It is typified by a focus on tourism and relocation of people from elsewhere in Australia seeking lifestyle changes. The region has two, relatively young, campus-based universities. The OECD Peer Review believes that there is a strong potential role for the universities in building the knowledge economy. For this to happen there is a need to develop region-wide collaboration and shared strategies, including inter-university collaboration to support the knowledge economy agenda. There is also a need to improve incentive structures at the national, regional and institutional levels to support the regional engagement of the universities.

Twente, the Netherlands: 27 Nov -3 Dec 2005

Steve Garlick (University of the Sunshine Coast)
Paul Benneworth (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)
Peter Vaessen (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen)
Jaana Puukka (OECD Secretariat)

The Twente region has a well founded international reputation for innovation and entrepreneurialism. There are a number of innovative initiatives that contribute to this reputation. The region’s higher education institutions are at the forefront of stimulating and partnering in the good practice initiatives. Still, as a region Twente lags behind national performance aggregates in a number of areas. The OECD Peer Review Team believes that much can be achieved in Twente with its entrepreneurialism and innovation agenda by enhancing the endogenous human capital potential of the region through focussed and collaborative action by higher education institutions.

Busan, South Korea: 11-17 Dec 2005

Review Team:
Chris Duke
Henry Etzkowitz (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)
Byung-Shik Rhee (Korean Educational Development Institute, KEDI)
Fumi Kitagawa (National Institute for Policy Research, NIER)

Busan is the second city in the Republic of Korea after Seoul and a large rust-belt city which is seeking to recreate itself.

The Korean miracle has been almost entirely a Seoul miracle, and the government is committed to a major shift to more balanced development including decentralisation and a key role for a reformed university system. The higher education system is largely private, with high participation of the young, but limited experience of engagement and lifelong learning. The OECD Peer Review Report recommends new forms of partnership between central and regional/city government as well as new roles and partnerships for different kinds of universities. It also encourages more deliberate sharing of experience and problem-solving between this “Asian century” city and other partners in and beyond the OECD.

Värmland, Sweden: 11-17 Dec 2005

Review Team:
Frans Van Vught
Steve Garlick (University of the Sunshine Coast)
Lars Norström (University of Gothenburg)
Richard Yelland (OECD Secretariat)

Considerable efforts have been made in Sweden to foster and promote innovation, both nationally and regionally. There have been some notable successes and in many respects the integration of higher education into the developmental structures of the region is exemplary. Karlstad University in Värmland is justifiably proud of its short history. Like many of its size and age, it is ambitious, but will find it difficult to simultaneously sustain regional, national and international missions. Higher education is an increasingly competitive sector and some hard choices may need to be made by the institution’s leaders and managers. The OECD Peer Review Team recommends that the university should focus its activities on those in which it has clear strengths and on which Värmland’s economy can give it competitive advantage.

Öresund, Denmark-Sweden: 4-10 Dec 2005

Review Team:
Steve Garlick (University of the Sunshine Coast)
Peter Vaessen (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen)
Peter Karl Kresl (Bucknell University)
Jan Karlsson (OECD Secretariat)

Øresund, a cross-border region between Sweden and Denmark, aims to become a world leading science region through enhanced knowledge transfer and cross-border integration. The region ranks third behind London and Paris in biotechnological and medical research. A large part of the economy is, however, based on traditional, low-tech activities.

The Øresund University and the Øresund Science Region have made progress in constructing a bottom-up cross-border science region. The OECD Peer Review Team believes that Øresund has potential to become a significant motor for the two nations. There is, however, a need to encourage an agreement between the two national governments for harmonisation of current policy differences impeding cross-border development. There is also a need to make the Øresund partnerships more inclusive and operational in a practical sense.

Jyväskylä region, Finland: 15-21 Jan 2006

Review Team:
John Goddard (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)
Henry Etzkowitz (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)
Ilkka Virtanen (University of Vaasa)
Jaana Puukka (OECD Secretariat)

Finland has possibly the most sophisticated and well funded national innovation policy amongst OECD countries.  The regional dimension to this policy is only beginning to emerge, promoted in part by the success of the lightly funded Centres of Expertise programme and Science Parks. The OECD Peer Review believes that higher education (HE)  in cities like Jyväskylä can play a major role in driving the internationally competitive hubs in the global knowledge economy. But for this to happen, funding mechanisms for HE need to be fundamentally changed to give greater financial rewards for external engagement and more autonomy to institutions working with their regional partners.

Jyväskylä has frequently been used as a pioneer for the development of new approaches to higher education in Finland. Finland is now facing major challenges arising from globalisation which have profound implications for both higher education and territorial development. The process of regional capacity building in Jyväskylä that has been accelerated by the OECD review could provide the basis for testing and evaluating a raft of new approaches at the interface between higher education and the wider society regionally. It is a domain that poses major challenges for national policy. .

Trøndelag Mid-Norwegian Region: 12-18 Feb 2006

Review Team:
Markku Sotarauta (University of Tampere)
Claire Nauwelaers (University of Maastricht)
Magnus Gulbrandsen (NIFU STEP)
Patrick Dubarle (OECD Secretariat)

Trøndelag is a small but wealthy region with close to full employment and with no evidence of industrial decline problems. Its population enjoys the high educational and living standards of Norway. The lack of immediate problems has resulted to a low level of strategic awareness and the absence of development coalitions.
Trøndelag, as Norway in general, faces a major challenge to develop other sources of growth and added value than the resource-based oil and fishing industries, which have contributed to its wealth along the past century and still do. Nurturing new, knowledge-based industries and services will be the key element of sustaining wealth in Trøndelag. This requires a sustained and broadened innovation dynamics within the region. The OECD Peer Review Team also recommends that the Norwegian Government critically assesses the relationship between regional and innovation policy and, if possible, releases innovation policy to some extent from its territorial chains.

Jutland-Funen, Denmark: 12-18 February 2006

Review Team:
John Rushforth (HEFCE)
Peter Arbo (University of Tromso)
Jakob Vestergaard
Jaana Puukka (OECD Secretariat)

The key challenge for Jutland-Funen in Denmark is to strengthen its position in the global knowledge economy and to compensate for the pull effect of the Copenhagen metropolitan area.

The Danish universities have been designated a third task, but no significant funding stream in support of this. There is a focus on rewarding academic excellence in order to make Denmark a leading knowledge society. The key to mitigating the risk of higher education institutions becoming bogged down by a planning blight is to implement consistent policies based on robust evidence and supported with proper funding.

The OECD Peer Review Team recommends the improvement of incentive structures at the national and institutional levels to support the regional engagement of HEIs; the continued reduction of the burden of regulation placed on HEIs; the enhancement of the regional innovation systems; the reduction of the restrictions on the financing of public-private partnerships; and the development of region-wide shared strategies and systematic infrastructure for regional collaboration.

Valencia, Spain: 27 Feb – 4 March 2006

Review Team:
Enrique Zepeda Bustos (ITESM)
Dewayne Matthews (Lumina Foundation for Education)
Marti Parellada (Fundación CyD)
Francisco Marmolejo (CONAHEC Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration)

The Valencia region has a rich history, distinct language and unique culture. With the greater regional autonomy in Spain, it has potential to become a global player with the help of its higher education institutions. As Spain faces the need to play a more effective role in the knowledge-based society, the higher education system must adapt to new challenges. The OECD Peer Review Team recommends not only improving the coordination and collaboration between HEIs and between HEIs, the government, the business sector and other stakeholders, but also introducing changes in management and governance of HEIs.

Canary Islands, Spain: 16-22 April 2006

Review Team:
Chris Duke
Walter Uegama
José Ginés Morá (Technical University of Valencia)
Francisco Marmolejo (CONAHEC Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration)

This is a critical time for the Canary Islands. The increasing autonomy of Spanish regions gives both opportunity and responsibility to provide leadership and direction, and to turn aspirations into reality. The renewal of special status as an ultra-peripheral region within the European Community provides an opportunity for European level support and a distinctive identity, while the Bologna agreement provides necessity and leverage for change in higher education that can be used to advantage.
With the rapid development of globalisation, the pace of change for regional and local governments has quickened. The OECD Peer Review Team suggests that further change in law and regulation is required if a region like the Canary Islands is to develop effectively and its universities are to play a full part in the process. Some of the key elements include the university funding mechanisms, institutional governance, levels of flexibility in the offering of academic programmes, and contracting of academic staff.

Nuevo Leon, Mexico: 26-31 March 2006

Review Team:
José Ginés Morá (Technical University of Valencia)
Vera Pavlakovich (University of Arizona)
Francisco Marmolejo (CONAHEC Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration)
Roberto Rodriguez Gómez (National Autonomous University of Mexico)

The state of Nuevo León has an entrepreneurial culture which has contributed to a dynamic society and a position of economic leadership. It is now taking steps towards knowledge-based economy. At the same time, the obligation for mandatory social service for all university students provides a powerful mechanism for regional development. The OECD Peer Review Team recommends a more integrated educational system and closer links between HEIs as well as between HEIs and the government, the business sector and other stakeholders. It also recommends changes to funding mechanisms, quality assurance, institutional governance, internationalisation and greater institutional autonomy by increasing their flexibility in human resources and provision of academic programmes.

Atlantic Canada: 17-23 September 2006

Review Team:
Steve Garlick (University of the Sunshine Coast)
Gordon Davies (the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems)
Mario Polèse (INRS urbanisation, culture et société)
Fumi Kitagawa (National Institute for Policy research, NIER)

Atlantic Canada comprises the three Maritime Provinces, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick along with Newfoundland and Labrador. The size, demography, geography and diversity of Atlantic Canada, its juxtaposition with the rest of Canada and North America, and the presence of multiple actors and spheres of government make it a complex geography for regional development purposes.

In order to reduce the brain drain, to deliver the enterprising human capital needs of the region’s economic base and to assist with a number of productivity and social equity benefits the OECD Peer Review Team recommends conjoint action and mobilising the universities and community colleges for the region.

North Paraná, Brazil: 20-26 August 2006

Review Team:
José Ginés Morá (Polytechnic University of Valencia)
Paulo Haddad
José Ferreira Gomes (Universidade do Porto)
Francisco Marmolejo (CONAHEC Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration)

Northern Paraná has one of the highest standards of living in Brazil but has been losing its relative position in the state economy since the 1970s. There is great growth potential if the regional knowledge-based economy is mobilised along the Maringa-Londrina axis and with the help of state universities and other higher education institutions. The OECD Peer Review Team recommends enhanced coordination and collaboration between HEIs and between HEIs and their stakeholders. It also recommends changes in management and governance of HEIs, widening access to higher education and introducing a more diversified teaching and research portfolio.


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