These will be universities fully embracing their responsibilities towards society. Imagine that universities no longer strive to be better than their peers who are located on the other side of the world, or compete over students from distant countries solely to increase their revenues. Image universities whose actions are led by local needs in terms of knowledge generation and transition. Universities which form a hub in the local communities to create a stronger, more innovative and inclusive society.
These universities form a meeting place for business, government and society to collaborate, strengthen their organisations and provide mutual benefits.
In these institutions education takes place both in and outside the classroom, in physical and virtual spaces and results in a recognition of skills and competencies which can be continuously updated or expanded upon. Being a student is no longer a time restricted occupation but rather a life-time endeavour.
Education at these universities is based on their institutional strengths and keeps global challenges into consideration, but is tailored towards the needs of local and regional stakeholders.
This university utilizes its infrastructure in collaboration with industry and societal partners, ensuring the full utilization of its resources. It will provide a platform for start-ups, SMEs and larger industry partners collaboratively working on solving global challenges on a regional level. These institutions will function as an incubation space for talent, ideas and innovation and will form an integral parts of our lives for both young and old.
Arno Meerman is the co-founder and CEO of the University Industry Innovation Network, where he has initiated and leads the largest conference on University-Industry Interaction, started the world’s first professional education program for university-industry relationship staff and leads a number of UIIN’s research and development projects for the European Commission. Arno is also the Director for Business Development at the Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre. Besides project acquisition and strategic development at both organisations, Arno has consulted universities and government and published on entrepreneurship, innovation and university-business collaboration. Most recently he has managed the largest project on university-business cooperation in Europe yet undertaken.