Higher Education Policy

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 517–532 | Cite as

What are the Cultural Preconditions of Universities’ Regional Engagement? Towards a Disciplinary Sensitive Model of the University–Region Interface

  • Karel ŠimaEmail author
  • Paul Benneworth
  • Romulo Pinheiro
  • Jan Beseda
Original Article


This paper explores the relationship between disciplinary and organisational cultures and regional engagement. Disciplinary and organisational dimensions are key factors of academic identity and have a crucial impact on the ability of higher education institutions to actively engage within regional actors. The analysis builds on empirical data from selected Czech and Norwegian case higher education institutions. We call into question the conjecture that only specific organisational settings and incentive mechanisms — the formal structural side of higher education institutions — lead to better interactions between HEIs and regions. We conclude by arguing that informal tacit dimensions (that we conceptualise as epistemological orientations and disciplinary values and postures) are also important in understanding the dynamics of university regional engagement.


disciplinary cultures university regional engagement regional development coalitions academic identity informal engagement cultures 



The research leading to these results has received funding from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009–2014 and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports under Project Contract No. MSMT-5397/2015.


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Copyright information

© International Association of Universities 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karel Šima
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paul Benneworth
    • 2
  • Romulo Pinheiro
    • 2
  • Jan Beseda
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Higher Education StudiesPragueCzech Republic
  2. 2.Agderforskning ASKristiansandNorway

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