Higher Education Policy

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 463–479 | Cite as

Outsiders or Leaders? The Role of Higher Education Institutions in the Development of Peripheral Regions

  • James KarlsenEmail author
  • Jan Beseda
  • Karel Šima
  • Barbara Zyzak
Original Article

Policy makers’ interest in higher education institutions (HEIs) as instruments for regional development has increased in recent years, but evidence on the role of HEIs in peripheral regions remains unclear. In this article, we focus on the actual practices of HEIs in such regions. Specifically, we combine theories on the roles of HEIs and regional leadership in a case study of four HEIs (two in the Czech Republic and two in Norway) and their engagement in the development of their host regions. Our analysis shows that the HEIs engage in their host regions through their primary mission of teaching.


higher education institutions institutional role regional role peripheral regions regional innovation systems regional leadership 



This research 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

  • James Karlsen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jan Beseda
    • 2
  • Karel Šima
    • 2
  • Barbara Zyzak
    • 3
  1. 1.Agder Research and Department for Working Life and InnovationUniversity of AgderGrimstadNorway
  2. 2.Centre for Higher Education StudiesPragueCzech Republic
  3. 3.Agder Research and Department for Department of Political Science and ManagementUniversity of AgderKristiansandNorway

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