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TitleUniversities’ contributions to social innovation: towards a theoretical framework
Author(s)Cunha, Jorge
Benneworth, Paul
Third mission
social innovation process
social development
community engagement
Issue dateJul-2013
Abstract(s)There has been much interest of late in the analysis of the regional role of universities from the point of view of what is known as the universities’ third mission, which comprises those activities related to technology transfer, lifelong learning, and social (or community) engagement. In this context, the third mission of universities can be defined as a phenomenon in which universities are encouraged to realise their broader socio-economic potential through knowledge exchange and partnerships (Vorley and Nelles, 2008). The first research in this field was primarily directed towards economic issues, around technology transfer and lifelong learning activities. However, one dimension of universities’ third mission that remains relatively untapped by the literature is how universities’ other kinds of knowledge contributions can drive wider societal development, in particular related to processes around community engagement (Benneworth, 2013). We argue that universities possess all resources necessary to support community development processes beyond the business sphere and that the underdevelopment of the community mission appears to represent a clear lacuna in the literature. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to make a contribution to a more systematic understanding of university-community engagement and hence to bring back some balance and perspective to literatures around university social contributions more generally. To do so, we focus on one particular relevant mechanism, social innovation and propose a conceptual framework to understand how universities can contribute to processes of social innovation.
TypeConference paper
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:CGIT - Publicações em actas de encontros científicos / Papers in conference proceedings

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