In the region – for the region? The multiple roles of universities for their (rural) siting region

DI Dr. Verena Radinger-Peer

Institute for Sustainable Economic Development, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, BOKU Vienna

Friday, October 23rd, 2020 | 9:30  HS10 | via classroom:

Abstract: Locating universities in regions where they should spur regional development has been recognized as an important regional political “instrument“ since the middle of the twentieth century. The expected impacts on regional development range from economic, political, demographic, infrastructural, cultural, educational, to social. Thereby various studies confirm that a) the university-region setting is unique and context-specific and b) universities will not spur regional development autonomously or inevitably.

The presentation will show the potentials but also challenges of universities being located in rural regions. This refers to balancing acts between internationality and regional focus, economic performance and societal engagement, curriculum development and demands of the regional/national labor market etc. Particular attention is paid to income students (origin, attraction) as well as the migration of graduates. Hereby the presentations builds on insights from former and ongoing projects with national and international case studies (Germany, The Netherlands). The presentation will conclude with insights on strategies how universities in rural siting regions dealt with this multiple challenges as well as how the regional environment influenced the role the universities resumed.

CV: Verena Radinger-Peer (Dr. nat. techn., Dipl.-Ing.) is trained as spatial and environmental planner and gained her PhD in regional development and economics at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU). She was a visiting scholar at the Fraunhofer Institute ISI in Karlsruhe (Germany) as well as at the CHEPS (Center for Higher Education Policy Studies) at the University of Twente (The Netherlands).

Currently she is a FWF Hertha Firnberg Grant holder and investigates the interaction between universities and their surrounding region, with a special focus on knowledge transfer, student intake and mobility, labour market issues as well as regional engagement activities of universities.

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