Innovation as a driver for regional development: the experience of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM)

 

Gonzalo León, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

 

The creation of the European Research Area and the European Higher Education Area in the framework of the knowledge triangle are complementary processes with deep consequences in the structure and role played by major European actors. Within this context, universities can become key actors to boost innovation and knowledge creation. However to be effective, they should adapt their governance and structures. Public authorities have promoted structural reforms to increase the competitiveness of European universities beyond regional contexts. More co-operation between universities and other actors, stronger autonomy and fund raising; moving from short-term projects to long-term strategic alliances and deeper alignment with regional and national stakeholders' interests constitute a challenging agenda. Even when these general goals are shared, difficulties persist to facilitate efficient decision making. The Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) is the largest technical university in Spain and in the last few years, has implemented a series of institutional programmes, including thematic prioritisation of scientific and technological initiatives, open innovation schemes with the private sector in the UPM-driven S&R Park and two campuses, Montegancedo and Moncloa (with the Universidad Complutense), achieving the title of Campus of Excellence.