43rd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Peripheries, Centres, and Spatial Development in the New Europe", 27th - 30th August 2003, Jyväskylä, Finland
Universities' economic relationships with their regions can be divided into spending impacts and knowledge effects. Spending impacts refer to the effects of consumption and capital spending by universities and their staff and students on income and employment. Knowledge effects refer to the benefits of university activities, notably the production of highly educated graduates and the production and dissemination of knowledge. Until comparatively recently, most studies of the role of universities in regional development were confined to spending impacts. Now, there has been an explosion of research on knowledge effects and the ways in which universities contribute to learning regions, and thus to employment creation and the enhancement of regional competitiveness. Universities add to the human capital of the region and assist the innovative processes of firms but in turn their teaching and research activities are informed by businesses in the region. This paper reviews a number of studies of the roles of European universities in enhancing regional competitiveness in the contemporary learning economy. It discusses the different economic processes involved and includes several case studies of individual universities. Finally, the paper provides suggestions for the direction of further research.