Aktører i samfunnet forventer at universiteter bidrar til å løse samfunnsutfordringene og driver utvikling i lokalområdet. Universiteter kan fremme innovasjon og økonomisk utvikling ved å samarbeide og overføre ny kunnskap til samfunnet. Universiteter er imidlertid ulike, og de ligger i ulike regioner. Dette betyr at alle universiteter ikke kan utføre denne rollen på samme måte. Det er viktig å forstå hvordan universiteter i ulike regioner bidrar til regional utvikling gjennom sin samfunnskontakt. Prosjektet «Promoting the Role of Universities in Innovation and Regional Development in Norway» har som mål å hjelpe norske universiteter til å styrke sin regionale rolle. Det bruker tradisjonelle og nye medier til å formidle ny kunnskap fra regioner over hele Europa fra RUNIN-prosjektet til nøkkelpersoner i Norge.
With the dissemination project, RUNIN researchers got the opportunity to present their findings to Norwegian audience from various sectors in two different settings. First, RUNIN PhDs have participated in the RUNIN podcast series titled “Universities, Innovation and Regions.” In total, 12 episodes were recorded and published on several platforms. The podcast series are hosted by NettOp, the digital services unit of the University of Stavanger (UiS).
Second, the dissemination activities took place as the organization and participation in several events. Under the project, a workshop in Bergen and a conference in Oslo were conducted as physical gatherings to enable more interaction. The “Universities, Innovation and Regions: Reflections from European Cases” workshop in Bergen was held on 9 November 2022 in collaboration with Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) on campus Kronstad. Six RUNIN PhDs presented their projects. The event also included a panel discussion bringing together researchers from the universities in Bergen.
The final conference of the project was held in Oslo at the Nationaltheatret Konferansesenter on 2 June 2023. There were 58 registrations of which 41 participants attended the event. The event was opened with a welcome speech by the Universities Norway’s (UHR) Secretary General, Nina Sandberg. In the conference, 7 RUNIN PhDs presented the findings from their research, which was followed by group discussions.
Thirdly, 2 RUNIN PhDs presented their results at the UHR Innovation Meeting on 26 April 2023 in Stavanger. This opportunity was of critical importance to reach high level representatives responsible for innovation, commercialization and societal engagement from Norwegian higher education institutions. Focusing on the university-industry collaborations and academics’ engagement, the presentations have contributed to create awareness on the recent status of the universities and academics’ relationships at a larger scale across Norway.
The main attention points of dissemination activities have been to present the findings from individual PhD projects conducted under RUNIN project with a specific focus on the Norwegian context. Thus, all the presentations have been oriented towards presenting the potential applicable results in Norway so that Norwegian audience can benefit from the research conducted on cases from various parts of European regions in countries like Denmark, Sweden, UK, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands. Our project has provided the inflow of new evidence from valuable European cases on the contributions of universities in terms of economic and societal development.
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.