51st Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "New Challenges for European Regions and Urban Areas in a Globalised World", 30 August - 3 September 2011, Barcelona, Spain
A gap in competencies or in capabilities?: the role of regional universities in developing scientific and technological skills in Campania The paper assesses the role of universities in resolving the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills gap in the Campania region of Southern Italy. The results are shown to hinge on a doubled supply/demand model, involving a first upstream stage (logically if not chronologically) of derived demands for and supplies of STEM-based skill development within universities, and a second downstream stage of the usage of these skills in industrial firms. The main objective of this work is to re-examine the role of conventional ‘knowledge capital' arguments for the role of universities in development processes in catching-up regions of the EU - i.e. human capital and R&D capital, or what will be identified here as ‘competencies' - as against what we refer to as ‘capabilities' arguments, reflected here in better ways in which universities might adapt to the actual needs of industry for highly skilled workers and research outcomes. The results suggest that the STEM skills gap is not clearly a deficiency just in capabilities, but more so in the links between capabilities and competencies. Moreover, the STEM universities are trying to feed the interaction with industry, however it is still left mostly to the personal relationships of the professors or their administrative counterparts, e.g. head of the T&T office, and/or to placement.
Derived demand and supply STEM subjects Mezzogiorno region skills gap competencies and capabilities