Opening the box of Universities’ Third Mission: theoretical background and empirical investigation
Opening the box of Universities’ Third Mission: theoretical background and empirical investigationMatilde Milanesi, Enrico Marone, Valentina Papa, Simone Guercini
The paper deals with the public-private interaction with a focus on higher education and research. More specifically, the paper aims at understanding the interaction between Universities and other public and private actors and the underlying complex processes that guide the Universities’ third mission. The paper is part of an ongoing research process aimed at mapping and analyzing how the third mission is carried out by an Italian University.
The University is not only responsible for qualifying the human capital (Education – the first mission) and for producing new knowledge (Research – the second mission). Universities must engage with societal needs and market demands by linking the university’s activity with its own socio-economic context and related actors (Rider et al., 2012; Milanesi and Guercini, 2019). The third mission (TM) has two major priorities: the targeted use and transfer of academic knowledge to help resolve societal challenges, and the transfer of technologies and innovations in the form of cooperation with other public and private companies, also as part of a “system of innovation” (Nelson, 1993; Laredo, 2007). The two following subsections discuss two critical aspects of the TM: how to define it and the approaches to study it.#case study #higher education #knowledge transfer #networks #public-private interaction #third mission