Universities’ Third Mission and Structural Funds programmes: Reflections from the University Consortium of Pori

Salomaa, Maria (2018) Universities’ Third Mission and Structural Funds programmes: Reflections from the University Consortium of Pori. In: RSA Annual Meeting, 3rd-6th of June 2018, University of Lugano.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


Finnish university consortia are collaboration networks that coordinate different activities of several host universities in peripheral areas. Besides providing local access to higher education and being a source of skilled workforce, these consortia play an enhanced role in regional development, the “Third Mission”. The consortia have been especially active in taking part in Structural Funds (SF) projects.

Though the SF programmes are central tools in EU Cohesion policy and important instruments of regional R&D funding, there are only few studies on how universities can foster regional development through SF programmes. There are, however, a number of constraints hindering universities’ motivation to engage with SF programmes: the projects are considered to be highly bureaucratic and cross-regional collaboration challenging. There is also a lack of resources for self-financing, which makes the SF instruments less appealing for higher education institutions. Most importantly, the SF projects may be difficult to link with universities’ core missions.

This case study is based on semi-structured interviews highlighting how the University Consortium of Pori participates in SF projects and contributes to regional development. The aim is to explore how these projects are embedded in universities’ education and research missions. Is the participation merely an opportunistic way to diversify the funding base with “add-ons” to raise university consortia’s regional profile? Or is the SF project portfolio strategically planned, entrepreneurial activity that truly benefits the local economy while it is successfully combined with universities traditional missions?

Keywords:Structural Funds, Third mission, University Engagement, Entrepreneurial university
Subjects:X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K410 Regional Planning
N Business and Administrative studies > N215 Organisational Development
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:35792
Deposited On:30 Apr 2019 12:35

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