Societal stakeholders expect universities to help solve society’s problems and contribute to the development of places in which they are located. Universities can promote innovation and economic development by collaborating and transferring new knowledge to societal actors. However, universities are different and operate in varied regions. Hence, not all universities can perform this role to an equal degree. It is important to understand how universities in different regions' societal engagement contribute to the region’s development. The project “Promoting the Role of Universities in Innovation and Regional Development in Norway” seeks to assist Norway strengthens its universities’ regional engagement role. It uses traditional and new media channels to publicize and transfer new evidence gathered across Europe from the RUNIN project to key stakeholders in Norway.
The urge to shift to a knowledge-based economy has put universities in a key role as producers and transmitters of new knowledge through their research activities, training of highly qualified human capital and founding of new firms that constitute critical sources for innovation and regional development. Therefore, universities are expected to contribute to the regions in which they are located and societies they are embedded in through various mechanisms, which leads to the intensification of collaborations and networks with relevant stakeholders including public organizations, industrial actors, citizens, other research institutions, among others. The H2020 project “The Role of Universities in Innovation and Regional Development (RUNIN)” aimed at exploring the processes of these interactions based on four pillars: ‘People and Networks’, ‘Policies and Interventions’, ‘Places and Territories’ and ‘Practices and Governance’. The RUNIN consortium, including universities and local/regional organizations, has created a valuable body of knowledge on the contributions of universities to innovation and regional development from different parts of Europe that are transferable to Norway. In line with this, the aim of the proposed project is to disseminate the knowledge generated through research conducted in the RUNIN project to a broader Norwegian audience, with an emphasis on academic partners and governmental organizations in Norway, and to promote a higher visibility for the role of universities in innovation and regional development at the national level.