Universities, Regions and Social Disadvantage

  • Ruth WilliamsEmail author
  • Allan Cochrane


In recent years growing expectations have been placed upon universities, particularly in relation to their role as drivers of local and regional economic growth. However, rather than drawing on the economic perspective, the research on which this chapter is based is focused on the socio-cultural impact of universities. It discusses some of the findings from the Higher Education and Regional Transformation (HEART) project, which explored the role universities play in the social and cultural experience of the regions, sub-regions and cities within which they are located, and especially in relation to alleviating social disadvantage. The chapter focuses on three themes running through the research project’s case study universities: widening participation, community and civic engagement, and image and cultural attractiveness. These themes help explore the roles universities are performing and the extent to which they are helping to alleviate social disadvantage.


High Education Institution Community Engagement Civic Engagement Social Disadvantage Widening Participation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton KeynesBuckinghamshireUK

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