Universities as Innovation Drivers

The latest issue of the Foresight Journal (vol. 11. No. 2), published as a special issue, looks at various aspects of integrating universities’ educational, research, and innovative activities in a ‘knowledge triangle.’ Experts from Austria, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Sweden, and the UK, as well as representatives of the OECD had the opportunity to share their knowledge in this field.

In his opening article ‘The Role of Universities in the Knowledge Triangle’, Nicholas Vonortas introduces readers to universities’ functions within the innovation system and their interactions with other participants. Special focus is placed on the channels for knowledge transfer and commercialization.

The knowledge triangle as a concept has gained importance in recent years as a framework for innovation policies. Maximilian Unger and Wolfgang Polt in their paper ‘The Knowledge Triangle between Research, Education and Innovation – A Conceptual Discussion’ analyze its mechanisms, and the impact of actors, challenges, and opportunities. The authors suggest looking at the knowledge triangle as a uniting foundation for other, at times overlapping, at times complementary, concepts, such as the ‘third mission’, ‘triple helix’, ‘entrepreneurial or civic university’ models and ‘smart specialization’.

The paper by Mario Cervantes, ‘Higher Education Institutions in the Knowledge Triangle’, discusses some of the policy issues and best practices aimed at enhancing HEIs performance and improving their impact on society and the economy within the knowledge triangle. The paper describes policies to promote the knowledge triangle within HEIs and HEI performance as viewed through the lens of this concept.

Open science represents a challenge to traditional modes of scientific collaboration, in which knowledge exchange is still heavily influenced by researchers’ ambitions to publish in highly cited journals and within ‘closed partnerships’ where interactions are based upon intellectual property rights. Joanna Chataway, Sarah Parks, and Elta Smith in their paper ‘How Will Open Science Impact on University-Industry Collaboration?’ demonstrate the growing demand for greater openness in the conduct of science and the exchange of scientific knowledge. Such processes are boosted by low research efficiency and a crisis of confidence in the quality of the research published in top journals, as well as by the state’s desire to make publicly funded research available to all.

Natalia Shmatko and Galina Volkova have analyzed motivation patterns of Russian researchers on the basis of data from the international project, Careers of Doctorate Holders, (CDH) and its Russian counterpart, Monitoring survey of Highly Qualified R&D Personnel. In their paper ‘Service or Devotion? Motivation Patterns of Russian Researchers’, the authors investigate the stability and variability of a researcher’s motivation during different periods of their career, such as professional choice, current work activity and a hypothetical situation of a job change. The most common motivation patterns include opportunities for professional and personal achievements; the inherently creative and innovative nature of scientific work; and independence.

Perez-Vico Eugenia, Sylvia Schwaag Serger, Emily Wise, and Mats Benner developed a thesis that is referenced in the other journal papers, namely that there is no one model of a knowledge triangle. In their paper ‘Knowledge Triangle Configurations at Three Swedish Universities’ the scholars looked at how these strategies manifested in the organization and strategy of three different Swedish universities. Although the knowledge triangle remains a priority, explicit national policies are lacking, with the responsibility of integration falling upon universities themselves. The authors identified the weaknesses of this approach and concluded that the appropriate resources and individuals with specific competencies would deliver more effective integration between the universities’ basic functions.

In their study ‘The Effect of Talent Management Process on the Research Performance of Faculty Members with the Mediating Role of Organizational Justice’, Farzaneh Eghbal, Reza Hoveida, Siadat Seyadat Seyedali, Hossein Samavatiyan and Mokhammad-Khosseyn Yarmokhammadian determined the effects of perceived talent management on the research performance of faculty members through a survey. Their study results showed that the mediating role played by perceived organizational justice was insignificant, and improving talent management process components can increase faculty members’ perception of organizational justice and, ultimately, improve research performance.

The paper ‘Relationships between Lecturer Performance, Organizational Culture, Leadership, and Achievement Motivation’ evaluates the effects of organizational culture, leadership and achievement motivation on university lecturer performance. Yusdi Anra and Martinis Yamin found a direct correlation between these factors and concluded that efforts to improve lecturer performance can be made through improving the organizational culture, leadership, and achievement motivation.

The latest issue of Foresight is for sale at the HSE bookshop BukVyshka in Moscow (20 Myasnitskaya Ulitsa). Paper versions of the journal are also available on subscription. The online version is available for free on the journal website, at e-Library and Cyberleninka, as well as in AppStore and GooglePlay.