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
The impact of higher education institutions on the regional economy is now more important the ever, due not only to their role as providers of education and research, but also to their linkages to the economic, social and cultural surroundings. The paper explores the relationship between the higher education and the regional development, bringing evidence from the eight development regions of Romania: Bucharest and Ilfov, Center, West, North-West, North-East, South-East, South, and South-West, on the most widely used development indicators, according to the methodology proposed by OECD for the assessment of the local engagement of higher education institutions. The analysis reveals the needs to improve the relevance of university education, to widen and strengthen the collaboration between higher education institutions and the business environment, to improve the flexibility of the workforce by re-skilling and up-skilling through lifelong learning. In collaboration with regional and local authorities, universities are in the need to develop and expand learning and skills development programmes, research activities and outreach efforts to support the cultural and creative industry development of the regions they are embedded in, taking also into consideration the international dimension by building stronger connections with students, researchers and professionals from Europe and abroad.