U radu se empirijski istražuju instrumenti i dizajn javnih politika koji su u gospodarski najkonkurentnijim zemljama EU-a doveli do kvalitativnog unaprjeđenja suradnje odabranih sveučilišta i njihovih industrijskih partnera.
Slučajevi koji se analiziraju su: Sveučilište Aalto iz Finske i Tehnološko sveučilište Dresden iz Njemačke, koji su odabrani sukladno dizajnu komparativne analize najrazličitijih slučajeva, pri čemu oba slučaja odstupaju od profila prosječnog europskog sveučilišta. U fokusu istraživanja je analiza formuliranja reformskih mjera na razini sveučilišta i analiza instrumenata implementiranih oko 2010., koji su namijenjeni kvalitativnom razvoju suradnje sveučilišta i industrije.
Rezultati istraživanja pokazuju kako su na oba analizirana sveučilišta oko 2010. implementirane velike promjene: 1) u području reforme unutarnje organizacije sveučilišta s ciljem poboljšanja mogućnosti za provedbu interdisciplinarnih istraživanja; 2) u području uspostave dodatnih izvora za financiranje R&D-a; 3) vezano za uvođenje novog sustava regrutiranja i razvoja karijera sveučilišnog osoblja; i 4) u području uspostave prioritetnih područja R&D-a, pri čemu je osobita značajka Sveučilišta Aalto da su studenti postali glavni protagonisti poduzetničkih aktivnosti na Sveučilištu, a TU Dresden se strateški orijentira na
jačanje suradnje s izvansveučilišnim istraživačkim institutima.
Primjenom koncepta ovisnosti o odabranom putu, također je donesen i zaključak kako se sveučilišta u najkonkurentnijim zemljama EU-a razvijaju u smjeru povećanja autonomije i financijske neovisnosti i u odnosu na državu i u odnosu na industrijske partnere, što je identificirano kao nužni preduvjet za ostvarivanje vrhunskog R&D-a na sveučilištima.
Considering that the phenomena of university-industry cooperation has become the
trend sine qua non at leading global universities and in the higher education policies of
developed countries in the 21st century, including the EU policy discourse, room for further
development in this field exists in the improvement of its qualitative dimension.
For that reason, this dissertation empirically investigates instruments and policy design in the
economically most competitive EU countries, Finland and Germany, that have qualitatively
improved cooperation between the universities chosen for this study and their industrial
partners. The cases analysed in this study are: Aalto University in Finland and Technological
University Dresden in Germany, that were chosen according to the Most Different Systems
Design, whereby both cases differ from an average European university profile.
The research focus of the above cases is the analysis of reform processes observed in the
formulation stage at the university level around 2010. These processes have been analysed
with regards to the influence of changes in higher education policy design and observed in the
narrower socio-economic context and in the wider context of the Europeanization of public
policies and of the concept of knowledge-based economy. Thus, a major part of the analysis
refers to investigating the instruments for qualitative development of university-industry
cooperation that are divided into four groups: nodal instruments, instruments concerning
public authorities, financial instruments and organisational instruments.
In this study, historical institutionalism, i.e. the path dependence concept, has been used in
order to investigate the direction of the evolution of universities in the most competitive EU
countries and to re-examine the conventional theoretical understanding of the institution of
universities in these specific cases. A recommendation for countries willing to enhance their
own university-industry cooperation has also been given based on the research results.
Based on the research questions of this dissertation, the following conclusions have
Research question no. 1: Which groups of actors were dominant in the policy network formed
for the university reform (institutional changes) and the university-industry cooperation and what were the interests and motives of the policy actors for initiating the reform and
participating in the university-industry cooperation?
The research has shown that in both of the analysed cases the state actors' initiative was the
main trigger for starting the changes, but it has also shown that the credit for the preparation
of the concrete reform measures and instruments as well as their successful implementation
belongs to university actors. Thereby, both groups of actors in both countries had a common
goal: to improve university performance, particularly by enhancing its R&D excellence, and
to make a contribution to the development of the society and economy.
Research question no. 2: What were the socio-economic and institutional barriers in the
process of university reform (changes), how were they overcome and what were the methods
for solving conflicts of interest in stakeholders’ relations during the reform?
Based on the research results, open and high-quality communication between all the relevant
stakeholders was key to solving issues successfully during the preparation of measures and
instruments for institutional changes. In both cases the necessity for all of the stakeholders to
be well-informed about the “rules of the game” was also recorded. Research question no. 3: What is the scope of relevance of using different kinds of nodal
instruments and why were the specific instruments relevant for R&D and industrial
cooperation chosen at the analysed universities?
At the analysed universities, quantitative and especially qualitative progress in the
implementation of nodal instruments aiming at the improvement of R&D and industrial
relations has been observed, especially including students’ involvement in research and
entrepreneurial activities (particularly at Aalto University). Thereby, research and businessrelated
teaching methods gain relevance especially owing to the fact that in both cases
university participants recognized the importance of training for young people in the field of
R&D and entrepreneurship even within the mainstream education system.
Research question no. 4: Are government measures or the university’s capacity for reform
more important for the choice and formulation of instruments aimed at the improvement of
R&D and university-industry cooperation?
Based on the research, state actors were of major importance for initiating and (financially)
supporting the changes at both universities. On the other hand, university actors were more significant for the formulation of particular instruments and for the successful implementation
of institutional changes.
Research question no. 5: In which ways do Europeanization and internationalization provide
alternative sources of R&D funding for universities and do they facilitate the process of
overcoming the local socio-economic deficiencies?
Based on the research, the effects of Europeanization concerning the utilization of EU funds
has a considerable and increasing share in R&D funding at the analysed universities, but this
is not a pivotal factor regarding the influence on quality of R&D performance at these
universities. At the same time, the process of internationalization is substantial with regard to
the choice of financial instruments at the analysed universities modelled on international
policy templates and examples of good practices.
Research question no. 6: Which institutional (organisational) changes at the examined
universities are relevant, how were they chosen, i.e. in which scope are they compliant with
the historical continuity of the analysed institutions? The research showed that both universities, during institutional changes around 2010,
implemented major changes in the following areas: 1) in the field of internal organisation of
the university with the goal of enhancing the possibilities for the implementation of
interdisciplinary research; 2) in the field of establishing additional sources of R&D funding;
and 3) regarding setting up a new recruitment and career-development system for faculty
The main difference between the analysed universities, explainable in terms of the path
dependence concept, is that at Aalto University extreme changes were implemented in the
structure of university governance and that students became the main promoters of
entrepreneurial activities at the university. In contrast, changes at TU Dresden were less
extreme and had a particular emphasis on the enhancement of R&D cooperation with nonuniversity
research institutes in Dresden.
Research question no. 7: In which direction have the chosen universities from the most
competitive EU countries been developing concerning the implementation of instruments for
the qualitative improvement of R&D?
Based on the research, universities from the most competitive EU countries develop in a
direction that leads to an increase of autonomy and financial independence not only towards the state, but also towards their industrial partners, whereby both processes enable the
qualitative improvement of R&D at the institutions concerned.
Research question no. 8: Which main types of instruments aimed at influencing the
enhancement of R&D are common to the analysed institutions?
Based on the comprehensive analysis, in both of the analysed cases the following main
instruments aimed at enhancing R&D performance are used: more efficient learning and
teaching methods oriented towards practical training for students in the field of scientific
research and entrepreneurship, greater autonomy in the sphere of university governance,
additional sources of R&D funding that are freely available to university actors, and new
specialised models of cooperation with external actors.
Concerning the given theoretical and methodological framework, the conclusion of this study
is that the contemporary development of European universities, including those operating
very closely to market logic, can still be well understood by applying the path dependence
concept that, inter alia, enables the understanding of the causes for different reactions of different institutions affected by the internationalization processes.
Finally, it would be useful to supplement the knowledge developed and elaborated in
this dissertation in further research with, for example, evaluative comparative analyses of
single groups of policy instruments for the qualitative development of university-industry
cooperation on a larger sample of successful universities. This would give insight into which
sub-types of instruments are most represented and most effective in the area concerned and
thus give the precise policy recommendations for state and university actors interested in the
improvement of innovation and higher education policy.