Universities can play a crucial role in securing globally-focused innovation within a national culture. But the direction of innovation is as important as the rate. We will question the effect of national industrial strategies in a hyper-connected world, and the influence that national goals may have on public universities producing research to combat global challenges. What space do research universities occupy in the innovation ecosystem between government, industry, university and private capital? Are universities a tool through which governments can correct imbalances in market-led allocation of resources? Or should universities focus on doing what no one else can do?
What can universities – as single institutions and as networked bodies – contribute to the understanding and practice of 21st-century social responsibility? If education is becoming the most valuable personal asset this century, then do universities as gatekeepers to that asset have a responsibility to provide an ethical framework for students? Does the higher education sector possess the right tools for understanding and evaluating impact before that impact may be altered or reversed? Where can governments act to secure a greater public-good benefit to public research funding? Or is the individual consumer market the most effective regulator of applied research?
We will present and examine exclusive new data published by THE on the impact of 1,000 universities worldwide. Are the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals a relevant framework that university leadership can use by which to align missions and measure impact? Should research universities direct their innovation towards needs-driven impact, or follow evolutionary waves of research advancement? Alternatively, should research universities protect their autonomy and invest their resources based on other factors? What are the most effective tools for assessing university impact and can they be globally aligned towards a common mission?
Does the greatest research and innovation come from those institutions with the biggest resources? Or can success foster complacency? These sessions will investigate what models are available for university leaders with limited budgets and facilities. Is there a formula to find the right balance of diversity of talent and restricted funds that can support innovation? Are performance metrics and targets vital measures of success or bureaucracy that suppresses free thinking? How important is geographic location? What do investors and industry leaders view as the mix of talent and the most attractive environment for creating innovation with high impact? And how can universities create that scenario?