The Future of Universities
The Challenge - What has SURF Done? - Related Projects - Related Workshops and Seminars - Read More - Project-Specific Websites
As places seek to build science regions and cities, expectations of what universities can deliver for their regions and localities have risen.
Policy frameworks at multiple levels urge international profile and local links; academic excellence and socio-economic relevance; collaboration and competitiveness; research and teaching, as well as engagement and outreach.
Yet universities must also remain spaces for reflection. A nuanced debate has been absent on what we can realistically expect from universities vis-à-vis other institutions.
Effective policy-making for universities and localities requires understanding differences between institutions and knowledges, as well as analysis of how, where and with what intended effects knowledge is to be applied.
Our work focuses on the implications of knowledge-based urban development for the relationship between external expectations and internal transformations in universities.
We have examined the contexts and conditions for knowledge exchange (rather than transfer) to emerge which take cultures of knowledge production and knowledge reception seriously. The first in our series of pamphlets marking our 10th Anniversary looks at these issues and the roles of active intermediaries in linking research with practice.
We combine theoretical analysis with policy recommendations. SURF has shaped research agendas and policy debates through participation in forums such as the Transatlantic Forum on the Future of Universities and through our lead of an ESRC-research programme on the Embedded University in the Knowledge Economy.
Understanding the roles of universities in building innovative urban environments and regional innovation systems is particularly critical in the context of attempts to harness relevant knowledge and expertise for sustainable growth.
SURF is committed to working in ways that demonstrate the potential roles of the university within our own city-region. Through the Smart City Futures process, SURF held three seminars which collectively demonstrated the ways in which universities can engage with their localities. The events built on previous work on the relationship between the Greater Manchester universities and the aspiration to make the city-region a Knowledge Capital.
These insights and experiences are being taken into international domains through our involvement with the MISTRA Centre for Sustainable Futures in Sweden, with partners in South Africa and China.
- Greater Manchester Urban Knowledge Arena
- The Embedded University in the ‘Science-Economy’ Network
- Transatlantic Forum on the Future of Universities
- Strategic Development of Urban Regeneration and Policy Capacity
- Knowledge Capital
- Regional Knowledge Transfer Between Universities and the Health Sector
Click here to see all Active Projects.
- From Information to Intelligence: University Engagement and Strategic Socio-Economic Development, SURF, 11th July 2006.
- Smart City Futures Policy Panel Debates: Un-Making England? – Urban Transitions – Cities, Innovation and Knowledge, 2009.
Click here to see all Events.
- The Missing Middle in Universities: Space, Organisation and Capacity (2008): Newsletter Article.
- Academic Knowledge and Urban Development: Theory, Policy and Practice (2008): Book Chapter.
- Universities in the Knowledge Economy: Places of Expectation / Spaces for Reflection? (2006): Journal Article.
Click here to see all Publications.