Enabling Innovative Postgraduate Research: Critical Foresight and Strategic Considerations for University Leaders

  • Luke van der LaanEmail author
  • Jenny Ostini
Reference work entry
Part of the University Development and Administration book series (UDAA)


Innovative postgraduate research is an outcome that requires necessary preconditions to flourish in the higher education system. Neither the system underpinning postgraduate research nor the students themselves can make this happen. Rather, the worldviews and assumptions of leaders as decision-makers, who continually build, amend, and deconstruct higher education systems, are critical precursors to nurturing innovative postgraduate research.

There is almost universal agreement that universities are vital in shaping global, national, and local futures. The impact of universities is broader than their traditional remit and encompasses a full diversity of ecological, social, and economic outcomes.

Universities have a pivotal role in achieving a shift from traditional sources of wealth to new service models, radical innovation, and small and medium enterprise development.

Disruptions faced by society are also disrupting traditionally “slow to change” university institutions. This challenges university leadership. While many still regard the world as thriving in the information age, it has been suggested that we have already transitioned into a new age, the conceptual age. Universities will need to address this shift to economies dependent on conceptual workers through their education model(s).

A new profile of university leadership is rapidly emerging to enable the emergence of innovative postgraduate studies to meet the need of the conceptual age through initiatives such as embodied in “third-generation postgraduate studies”. The necessary paradigms needed by university leaders are outlined for this important aspect of higher education engagement to flourish to the benefit of innovation, the economy, and ultimately societies.


Innovation Postgraduate research Postnormal Higher education Universities Knowledge Work Leadership 


  1. Altbach, Philip. 2001. Academic freedom: International realities and challenges. Higher Education 41 (1): 205–219. Scholar
  2. Altbach, Philip. 2015a. The costs and benefits of world-class universities. International Higher Education 33; 5–8.Google Scholar
  3. Altbach, Philip. 2015b. Higher education and the WTO: Globalization run amok. International Higher Education 23; 2–4.Google Scholar
  4. Bakker, Karen. 2007. The “commons” versus the “commodity”: Alter-globalization, anti-privatization and the human right to water in the global south. Antipode 39 (3): 430–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baregheh, Anahita, Jennifer Rowley, and Sally Sambrook. 2009. Towards a multidisciplinary definition of innovation. Management Decision 47 (8): 1323–1339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blustein, David. 2013. The psychology of working: A new perspective for a new era. In The Oxford handbook of the psychology of learning. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  7. Bowen, William, Michael Schwartz, and Lisa Camp. 2014. The end of academic freedom: The coming obliteration of the core purpose of the university. Scholarship Collection. Book 140.
  8. Bstieler, Ludvig, Martin Hemmert, and Gloria Barczak. 2015. Trust formation in university–industry collaborations in the US biotechnology industry: IP policies, shared governance, and champions. Journal of Product Innovation Management 32 (1): 111–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chopp, Rebecca, Susan Frost, and Daniel H. Weiss. 2015. Remaking college: Innovation and the liberal arts. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University.Google Scholar
  10. Christensen, Clayton M., and Henry J. Eyring. 2011. The innovative university: Changing the DNA of higher education from the inside out. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  11. Christensen, Clayton M., Michael B. Horn, Louis Caldera, and Louis Soares. 2011. Disrupting college: How disruptive innovation can deliver quality and affordability to postsecondary education. Washington, DC: Innosight Institute, Center for American Progress.Google Scholar
  12. Colardyn, Danielle, and Jens Bjornavold. 2004. Validation of formal, non-formal and informal learning: Policy and practices in EU member states. European Journal of Education 39 (1): 69–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Costley, Carol, and Stan Lester. 2012. Work-based doctorates: Professional extension at the highest levels. Studies in Higher Education 37 (3): 257–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Davis, Glyn. 2006. What is the future for Australia’s public universities?, 85–9 The Sydney Papers. Autumn.Google Scholar
  15. EFMD. 2012. Workplace learning: New thinking and practice. European Foundation of Management Development: Global Focus 6 (01).Google Scholar
  16. Engwall, Lars. 2015. Corporations and universities. European Review 23 (04): 501–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ertman, Martha, and Joan C. Williams. 2005. Rethinking commodification: Cases and readings in law and culture. New York: NYU Press.Google Scholar
  18. Finkelstein, S. and Hambrick DC. 1996. Strategic leadership: Top executives and their effects on organisations. West, St Paul, Minnesota.Google Scholar
  19. Funtowicz, Silvio, and Jerome Ravetz. 1995. Science for the post normal age. In Perspectives on ecological integrity, ed. Laura Westra, and John Lemons, 146–161. Springer, Netherlands.Google Scholar
  20. Galunic, D. Charles, and Simon Rodan. 1998. Research notes and communications: Resource recombinations in the firm: Knowledge structures and the potential for Schumpeterian innovation. Strategic Management Journal 19 (12): 1193–1201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gibbons, Michael. 1998. Higher education relevance in the 21st century. Working paper. Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  22. Gibbons, Michael, Camille Limoges, Helga Nowotny, Simon Schwartzman, Peter Scott, and Martin Trow. 1994. The new production of knowledge: The dynamics of science and research in contemporary societies. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. Hamel, Gary. 2000. Leading the revolution. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  24. Hamel, Gary. 2009. Moon shots for management. Harvard Business Review 87 (2): 91–98.Google Scholar
  25. Henry, Etzkowitz. 2006. The new visible hand: an assisted linear model of science and innovation policy. Science and Public Policy 33 (5): 310–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kneller, Robert, Marcel Mongeon, Jeff Cope, Cathy Garner, and Philip Ternouth. 2014. Industry-university collaborations in Canada, Japan, the UK and USA–with emphasis on publication freedom and managing the intellectual property lock-up problem. PLoS One 9 (3): e90302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Knowledge@Wharton blog. 2016. College vs. business training: What do employers want?. University of Pennsylvania. Accessed 12 Aug 2016.
  28. Krahe, J.A. Eve, and Amy K. Fitzgerald. 2015. Innovation studio 101. American Association of University Administrators 30 (1): 82–101.Google Scholar
  29. Laredo, Philippe. 2007. Revisiting the third mission of universities: Toward a renewed categorization of university activities? Higher Education Policy 20 (4): 441–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Leitch, Lord S. 2006. Leitch review of skills: Prosperity for all in the global economy–world class skills. Final report. London: The Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  31. Lester, Richard K. 2005. Universities, innovation, and the competitiveness of local economies. A summary Report from the Local Innovation Systems Project: Phase I. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Industrial Performance Center, Cambridge, MA, Working Paper Series.Google Scholar
  32. Pauline, Armsby. 2013. Developing professional learning and identity through the recognition of experiential learning at doctoral level. International Journal of Lifelong Education 32 (4): 412–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pritchard, Rosalind. 2004. Humboldtian values in a changing world: Staff and students in German universities. Oxford Review of Education 30 (4): 509–528. Scholar
  34. Quintane, Eric, R. Mitch Casselman, B. Sebastian Reiche, and Petra A. Nylund. 2011. Innovation as a knowledge-based outcome. Journal of Knowledge Management 15 (6): 928–947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Radder, Hans. 2010. The commodification of academic research. Science and the modern university. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  36. Ravetz, Jerome R., and Silvio Funtowicz. 1999. Editorial. Futures 31 (7): 641–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sam, Chanphirun, and Peter van der Sijde. 2014. Understanding the concept of the entrepreneurial university from the perspective of higher education models. Higher Education 68 (6): 891–908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sardar, Z. 2010. Welcome to postnormal times. Futures 42 (5): 435–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sardar, Ziauddin. 2015. Postnormal times revisited. Futures 67: 26–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Savior, Richard D., and Bruce S. Cooper. 2015. Lessons in university leadership: Reports from religious and secular university presidents. American Association of University Administrators 30 (1): 102–109.Google Scholar
  41. Sharp, Philip, Charles Cooney, Marc Kastner, Jacqueline Lees, Ram Sasisekharan, and Michael Yaffe. 2011. The third revolution: The convergence of the life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. White paper on convergence. Washington, DC: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Policy@ MIT. 20.Google Scholar
  42. Stan, Lester. 2015. A vocational qualifications system fit for adults? Revisiting some ideas from the university for industry. Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning 5 (2): 102–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. van der Laan, Luke. 2014. Community capacity building: The question of sustainability? In Community capacity building: Lessons from adult learning in Australia, ed. Glen D. Postle et al. Leicester: National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE).Google Scholar
  44. van der Laan, Luke and Ronel Erwee. 2013. In good hands? Foresight and strategic thinking capabilities of regional university leaders. In Proceedings of the 36th Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Conference (HERDSA 2013). Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA), Auckland.Google Scholar
  45. Weber, M. 2016. On the purpose of a university education. Educational Philosophy and Theory 48 (2): 207–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wildy, Helen, Sanna Peden, and Karyn Chan. 2015. The rise of professional doctorates: Case studies of the doctorate in education in China, Iceland and Australia. Studies in Higher Education 40 (5): 761–774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Willets, David. 2011. In Harriet Swain. 11 October 2011. What are universities for? The Guardian. Accessed 12 Aug 2016.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist EducationUniversity of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia
  2. 2.School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist EducationUniversity of Southern QueenslandSpringfieldAustralia

Personalised recommendations