‘University Ecosystems and the Entrepreneurial University’

Abstract: The role of universities is changing. In the last century, the primary focus areas of universities were education and research with key goals of creating and diffusing information and knowledge. Now, a third and equally important role, expectation and responsibility is emerging – that of value creation. Value in this context refers to both business value and societal value. With increasing scrutiny of funding into the third-level sector, governments and the public alike are expecting more accountability and proof of added value from universities. The use of a University Ecosystem approach can unleash much of the potential energy in universities and transform it into kinetic energy, with graduates not just emerging in a state of readiness to be an employee, but often as highly motivated entrepreneurs with business or social innovation initiatives in flight. An ecosystem can be defined as a network of interdependent organisations or people in a specific environment with partly shared perspectives, resources, aspirations and directions. The ecosystems with the biggest critical mass and the greatest velocity will have the most linear momentum and will ultimately win. This form of new posture equates to what Etzkowitz (2004) and Andersson, Curley and Formica (2010) term the entrepreneurial university.

Curley, Martin and Formica, Piero (2012) University Ecosystems and the Entrepreneurial University. White Paper, August 2012.

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