Open seminar: The challenge of the Research, Development & Innovation (RDI) role of Higher Education Institutions: different national policy debates and institutional developments in Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden

Open research seminar. Presentations by:

- Mats Benner (Lund University and Uppsala University)

- Peter Maassen (University of Oslo)

- Bjørn Stensaker (University of Oslo)

- Kaare Aagaard (Århus University)

Mats Benner

(Photo: Lund University)

In recent decades governments around the world have introduced major reforms of their higher education systems as a response to globalization and its effects on the socio-economic and political environments of the higher education institutions.

These reforms require higher education institutions to meet a wider set of goals than the traditional provision of primary teaching and research activities. The underlying policy agendas show a growing focus on the following issues:

  • the link between education, research, and innovation: the ‘knowledge triangle’;
  • the continuously growing number of students enrolling in higher education programmes and the need for a greater diversity of provision;
  • technological change;
  • changing competencies and skills requirements on the labour market;
  • changing demographic and mobility patterns.

These discussions are often linked to the conceptualisations of mode1 and mode2 distinction (Gibbons et al 1994), Pasteur's quadrant (Stokes 1997) and the Triple Helix (Etzkowitz 2003).

However, in recent science policy literature and governmental documents it is argued that we have to move beyond the mode 1 – mode 2 distinction, and beyond the Triple Helix. And, not least - a number of countries following these models have not succeeded in being on the forefront of innovation systems, despite close cooperation of higher education, research and industry.

What does this ‘moving beyond’ the dominant RDI & Higher education modes and models mean? What are the current policy debates and institutional developments when it comes to adapting the role of higher education in the national RDI approaches?

In this seminar we will discuss these questions on the basis of recent developments and debates in Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden


About the presenters

Mats Benner is the Vice Dean for Research, School of Economics and Management at Lund University and a Visiting professor at Uppsala University in Spring 2012. His main research interests are linked to research policy, in particular policy formation and implementation, in Sweden and in other countries.

Peter Maassen is a professor and head of research at the Department of Educational Research at University of Oslo where he also leads the research group HEIK (Higher Education: Institutional dynamics and Knowledge Cultures). His main research interests are linked to change processes in higher education from an institutional perspective. You can read more about his background here.  

Bjørn Stensaker is currently a professor at the Department of Educational Research at University of Oslo where is involved in a number of large research projects. In addition he is also employed at NIFU (the Nordic Institute for Innovation, Research and Education). His main research interests are linked to organization of higher education and quality assurance.  

Kaare Aagaard currently works in Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy at the Department of Political Science and Government, Århus University. His main research interests are linked to university funding and quality, in addition to research policy. 

For capacity planning, please register your participation at

Published June 1, 2012 12:19 PM - Last modified Oct. 7, 2021 12:29 PM