Universities are increasingly encouraged to take a leading role in economic development, particularly through innovation. Simultaneously, economic development policy itself is increasingly focused on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), creating overlapping interactions in the roles of government policy, universities and SMEs and the processes of innovation creation and dissemination. This paper examines issues arising from these developments and relating to the key stakeholders (industry, government and universities in particular), the enabling mechanisms (network governance, relevant education, training and learning, and suitable structures), and local and cross-local links. The authors then use quantitative analysis of 450 SMEs in the UK to begin to evaluate the roles of universities and highlight areas for further theoretical development.
- universities in economic development
- local linkages
- cross-local linkages