Spaces and places for innovation and knowledge transfer, and spaces for interaction were the themes of PEB presentations to the General Conference of the OECD Programme on Institutional Management in Higher Education, and to the launch workshop for the second phase of the Reviews of Higher Education in Regional Development.
The presentations looked at how the physical environment affects the relevance, impact and quality of higher education, the main themes of the conference. Universities, like many organisations, are continuously changing; they are dynamic organisations. However, the buildings and associated facilities are relatively fixed, but they must be supportive – a theme relevant to other areas of education too.
The presentations also discussed the variety of settings in which knowledge exchange takes place and the relationship between a university and the surrounding community. Earlier reviews of the role of higher education institutions in regional development show the institutions’ importance in providing the research and innovation base for local businesses. Universities also play a significant part in urban regeneration. This raises questions about the role of the university campus, how to manage these costly facilities and links to local policy both in terms of development planning but also funding. These are issues that future projects within the Programme on Educational Building will explore.
For more information, contact: Alastair.Blyth@oecd.org.