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  • © 2022

Social Innovation in Higher Education

Landscape, Practices, and Opportunities

  • 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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Table of contents (14 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-x
  2. Introduction: An Overview of the Research

    • Carmen Păunescu, Katri-Liis Lepik, Nicholas Spencer
    Pages 1-8Open Access
  3. Facets of Social Innovation in Higher Education

    • Mary McDonnell-Naughton, Carmen Păunescu
    Pages 9-35Open Access
  4. Digital Transformation in Higher Education Institutions as a Driver of Social Oriented Innovations

    • Vladislav Kaputa, Erika Loučanová, Fernando A. Tejerina-Gaite
    Pages 61-85Open Access
  5. Design of a Social Innovation Competence Framework to Educate Entrepreneurs in Developing on the International Stage

    • Alexandros Yeratziotis, Torgeir Aadland, Sigrid Westad Brandshaug, Christos Mettouris, Evangelia Vanezi, George Angelos Papadopoulos
    Pages 87-106Open Access
  6. Higher Education Practices for Social Innovation and Sustainable Development

    • Laura Dryjanska, Jana Kostalova, Davorka Vidović
    Pages 107-128Open Access
  7. Fostering Research with Societal Impact in Higher Education Institutions: A Review and Conceptualization

    • Carmen Păunescu, Anna Nikina-Ruohonen, Yulia Stukalina
    Pages 153-178Open Access
  8. Defining ‘Responsible’ in Responsible Research and Innovation: The Case of Quadruple Helix Innovation in the Energy Sector in the Tampere Region

    • Yohannes Mehari, Elias Pekkola, Jonna Hjelt, Yuzhuo Cai, Jari Stenvall, Francisco Javier Ortega-Colomer
    Pages 199-225Open Access
  9. A Human-Centric Co-creation Platform for Solving Wicked Social Challenges

    • Sofi Perikangas, Harri Kostilainen, Reija Paananen, Anne Määttä, Sakari Kainulainen
    Pages 227-244Open Access
  10. Social Innovation in Higher Education from a Disability Studies Perspective

    • Csilla Cserti-Szauer, Anikó Sándor, Vanda Katona, György Könczei
    Pages 273-293Open Access

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.


  • Open Access
  • Social change
  • Higher education institutions
  • Societal challenges
  • Universities
  • Triple helix
  • Quadruple helix
  • SDGs
  • Sustainability
  • Knowledge alliances
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Future employment markets
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Digitalisation
  • Community-based learning
  • Funding of higher education institution
  • Sectoral specialization of the regional economies

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 Spencer is 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.

Bibliographic Information

Buy it now

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access