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Higher Education for Smart Specialisation: The Case of North East Romania

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Abstract

This report synthesises the findings of the project Higher Education and Smart Specialisation (HESS) in North East Romania, a region that has been examined as one of the case studies. The project analyses the links between the higher education (HE) system and the development and implementation of Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3). On the one hand, the report identifies the challenges that S3 and the shift towards place-based innovation raise for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the region; on the other, it explores how HEIs' activities can best support S3 in a region with an early-stage regional innovation system. The case of North East Romania is particularly interesting, as the region hosts well-established universities, that are anchored to their traditional missions of teaching and research, while facing critical questions posed by S3. In particular the report explores how HEIs can contribute to knowledge-based regional development, not only through locally-relevant teaching programmes, but also through territorially grounded research, technology transfer and societal engagement. The case study has employed participatory and qualitative research methods, which have been complemented by desk based research on the policy and socio-economic context.