The university third mission and the European Structural Funds in peripheral regions: Insights from Finland

Maria Salomaa*, David Charles

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Current EU policies aim to support regional research, development, and innovation activities. The Cohesion Policy, implemented through Structural Funds (SFs) Operational Programmes, seeks to foster local level innovation. In parallel, universities have become important drivers of regional development through their ‘third mission’ driven by the different policy levels. This article investigates the tensions between the primary institutional logics of the university and the institutional logic of the SF programmes in peripheral regions as experienced by a multi-disciplinary university network from Finland. The findings from the case study reveal competing and co-evolving institutional logics of the two frameworks; university-led SF activities increase collaboration with local stakeholders, but the implementation of SF projects remains challenging (e.g. strict guidelines, higher education (HE) policies driving research excellence). Further investigation of these results in different regional contexts could provide new tools for managing the university third mission more efficiently, through SF programmes and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberscab003
Pages (from-to)352-363
Number of pages12
JournalScience and Public Policy
Volume48
Issue number3
Early online date3 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

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