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Social Innovation in Higher Education

Landscape, Practices, and Opportunities

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  • © 2022

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  • This publication is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access.
  • Explains how social innovation in higher education institutions (HEIs) advances wealth-creating public policies
  • Presents empirical evidence on how HEIs contribute to achieve the SDGs
  • Identifies future opportunities in terms of improving societal well-being and economic growth

Part of the book series: Innovation, Technology, and Knowledge Management (ITKM)

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About this book

This open access book offers unique and novel views on the social innovation landscape, tools, practices, pedagogies, and research in the context of higher education. International, multi-disciplinary academics and industry leaders present new developments, research evidence, and practice expertise on social innovation in higher education institutions (HEIs), across academic and professional disciplines.

The book includes a selected set of peer-reviewed chapters presenting different perspectives against which relevant actors can identify and analyse social innovation in HEIs. The volume demonstrates how HEIs can respond to societal challenges, support positive social change, and contribute to the development of international public policy discourse. It answers the question ‘how does the present higher education system, in different countries, promote social innovation and create social change and impact’. In answering this question, the book identifies factors driving success as well as obstacles. Furthermore, it examines how higher education innovation assists societal challenges and investigates the benefits of effective social innovation engagement by HEIs.

The interdisciplinary approach of the volume makes it a must-read for scholars, students, policy-makers, and practitioners of economics, education, business and management, political science, and sociology interested in a better understanding of social innovation.

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Table of contents (14 chapters)

Editors and Affiliations

  • School of Business Administration, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania

    Carmen Păunescu

  • School of Governance, Law and Society, Tallinn University, Tallinn, Estonia

    Katri-Liis Lepik

  • School of Design, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

    Nicholas Spencer

About the editors

Carmen Păunescu is a Professor of Entrepreneurship in the UNESCO Department for Business Administration at Bucharest University of Economic Studies (ASE), Romania. Her research interests lie in the areas of social entrepreneurship, innovation, business continuity, sustainable entrepreneurship, and higher education. Since 2011, she is also a doctoral supervisor at ASE in the area of social innovation and entrepreneurship. Carmen is an expert and local coordinator in the Erasmus+ project “CLLC – Community Learning for Local Change” and the Erasmus+ project “VISEnet – Village social enterprise: learning material, guidance, and networking. She leads also the WG2 Higher Education Institutions (HEI), social change and transformation as part of the COST Action CA 18236 Multidisciplinary innovation for social change. Carmen published over 50 peer-reviewed articles, books, and book chapters. She is an Editor of the Management and Marketing. Challenges for a Knowledge Society journal. 

Katri-Liis Lepik is an Associate Professor of Management at Tallinn University, Estonia. She is a lecturer in the global Master’s programme of Social Entrepreneurship and a mentor in the online Social Entrepreneurship Incubation Program. Katri-Liis is the Chair of the international COST network “Multidisciplinary innovation for social change” covering 40 countries. Having worked for the public, private, and non-profit sectors, she possesses competencies relevant for international collaboration and management consultancy. Katri-Liis is a board member of The Skill Mill Limited – an award-winning Social Enterprise dedicated to the employment of young ex-offenders by providing environmental maintenance services in the UK using Social Impact Bonds. Her research interests focus on social entrepreneurship, the public sector, and social innovation as well as quadruple helix cooperation. 

Nicholas Spenceris an Associate Professor of Design Innovation and Head of the Industrial Design Subject in the School of Design at Northumbria University. His research is interested in the application of design to navigate contested futures within complex social and organisational situations contributing to our understanding of Design for Social Innovation. Spencer leads a network of researchers and practitioners as part of the COST Action (CA18236) investigating design approaches to Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship. He has also helped to establish new practices that support the creative exploration of innovation readiness in small to medium-sized businesses and is regularly consulted to support larger organisations to develop the structures, cultures, and practices that enable inclusive approaches to design-led strategic change.

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