Universities and local and regional development


This programme of work seeks to link two hitherto separate knowledge domains and related fields of public policy:

  • those which focus on universities as key institutions in civil society
  • those which focus on city and regional development

In the context of a severe recession, pressure on the public finances and major societal challenges, such as global warming and demographics change, governments around the world are quite properly asking: what are universities for?  

The Civic University Study Programme (CUSP) seeks answers to such a question through academic and policy research for local, national and international institutions and contribution to debates that build recognition for the actual and potential role of universities in civil society. It is supported by Newcastle University’s Strategic Fund and contributes to its aspirations to become a “World Class Civic University” through assisting with strategic positioning and acting as a catalyst for new projects that contribute to realising that ambition. A definition of what we mean by a ‘civic university’ can be found by following this link.

Current projects include:

  • a book based on The University and the City to be published by Routledge which includes original research in four English cities
  • a large scale survey of how academics view the impacts of their research conducted in six universities in three English cities
  • an international comparative study of how individual universities manage civic engagement
  • producing guidance for Managing Authorities of European Union Structural Funds on how to mobilise universities as key actors in the design and implementation of ‘smart’ regional development strategies
  • providing a universities input to the European Commission Platform supporting regions preparing ‘smart specialisation’ strategies
  • leading for the European Centre for the Strategic Management of Universities (ESMU) a DG Education and Culture project on building regional partnerships between universities, business and public authorities
  • advising the European Universities Association (EUA) on a project for DG Research on best practise in the management of collaborative research with outside agents
  • supporting the OECD in its third round of reviews of the role of universities in city and regional development