The impact of global socio-economic changes on the regional role of universities

Economic Annals-ХХI: Volume 190, Issue 5-6(2), Pages: 33-47

Citation information:
Pupp, Zs., & Filep, B. (2021). The impact of global socio-economic changes on the regional role of universities. Economic Annals-XXI, 190(5-6(2)), 33-47. doi:

Zsuzsanna Pupp
PhD Student (Economics),
Doctoral School of Regional and Business Administration Sciences,
Széchenyi István University
1 Egyetem Str.,  Győr, H-9026, Hungary

Bálint Filep
PhD (Economics), Associate Professor,
Széchenyi István University
1 Egyetem Str.,  Győr, H-9026, Hungary

The impact of global socio-economic changes on the regional role of universities

Economic and regional development and rapid, often unpredictable changes across the globe in technical fields have an effect on everything, including universities, training, research and services as well. Universities must find their place in this continuously changing environment, they need to continuously reinterpret themselves and their own roles, whilst ensuring that education and knowledge transfer take priority. The pace of change is increasingly accelerating with technological novelties and innovations by high-tech industries surpassing themselves at an astounding rate. Therefore, knowledge, as the facilitator and creator of these results, plays an increasingly important role for those who wish to rank among the winners of the competition both locally and globally. Today, the primary creators of knowledge are still educational institutions, and universities are the fundamental platforms of research. However, it is not enough to be «only» a university, they must educate and research and become part of the developed world alongside participants who would like to provide scientific answers to practical problems. In our paper we address the question of breaking points along which the role of universities can be transformed in order to remain open to the needs of both their narrower and wider environment while maintaining their fundamental mission, thus becoming successful players on the global stage. The development of high-tech industries has resulted in a science-driven period when economic development is unimaginable without the scientific results and the interconnection of individual disciplines. This development will presumably lead to the deterioration of certain individual knowledge and the deepening of others. Higher education must also adapt to this with the development of an education system that strengthens digital skills and serves regional expectations. Nowadays entrepreneurial universities have emerged, which are able to operate with an entrepreneurial approach, thereby responding independently to challenges from outside. The ability to co-operate must be a key aspect of university existence, and the deepening of educational, research and business partnerships is a prerequisite for success. In order to spread management approach and create an entrepreneurial ecosystem, successful R&D work and innovation, it is also necessary to involve external, tender resources and grants, besides own resources. However, these resources need to be used well, but the lack of a pre-planned, conscious strategy results in less efficient use. Regional cooperation, common thinking, training and innovation, science workshops and science parks all contribute to the development of institutions and related regions.

Keywords: Higher Education; Global Technological Changes; Knowledge Management; Cooperation; Science Parks

JEL Classification: I23; I25; O32

Acknowledgements and Funding: The authors received no direct funding for this research.

Contribution: The authors contributed equally to this work.

Data Availability Statement: The dataset is available from the authors upon request.



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Received 12.04.2021
Received in revised form 11.05.2021
Accepted 21.05.2021
Available online 10.07.2021