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Regions and higher education in difficult times

The concept of the learning region is central to the way of problem-solving. Like 'lifelong learning' the term is used variously and carelessly. This book explores the meaning and importance of the learning region. Not all universities warm to such local-regional engagement. The unwise pride of global forces and nations undermines it; but even the most prestigious and 'global' university has a local footprint and ever-watchful neighbours. The book arises from the work of PASCAL, an international non-governmental network Observatory. Its name exploits echoes of philosophical depth as well as technical modernity of language, taking the concepts of Place, Social Capital and Learning together with the vital connecting conjunctions of And, to define its mission. At the heart of the story is PASCAL's experience of working with multiple regions and their universities on their experience with engagement. The book examines in turn several central strands mainly of policy but also of process that are illuminated by the PASCAL Universities and Regional Engagement (PURE) project. The PURE processes and outcomes, despite limitations and severe disruption by forces located outside the region and often too the nation, show the potential gain from international networking and shared activities. The book also discusses internal arrangements within the administration before turning to external relations: both with the university and tertiary sector and with other stakeholders in the private and third sectors. Regional innovation systems require entrepreneurialism inside government, higher education and training, as well as within industry from small and medium enterprises to multinationals.

Chris Duke, Michael Osborne, and Bruce Wilson

find themselves open to critical scrutiny and obliged to show value for money. Higher education is a universally acknowledged main seat of learning. We turn to this in the next chapter. Yet learning is also increasingly important in the region, at least in the sense that lifelong learning in ‘the learning region’ has become 29 MUP_Osborne_Final.indd 29 30/07/2013 15:50 towards mode two knowledge production an almost automatic policy precept. It is especially salient in the language and policies of the EU. Here and throughout the book we ask what it really means

in A new imperative
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Regions and universities in the post-2008 world
Chris Duke, Michael Osborne, and Bruce Wilson

American university. Is the ‘extraordinary something’ a rediscovery, as the ‘ivory tower’ suffers the slow death of a thousand cuts? Yes in part; it is also something different, in a very different world. It is a world characterised as global–local. As the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC) persists and extends, the idea of the learning region attracts wider attention as a policy proposition. It is central to this study. Its appeal has waxed and waned over the years, finding more favour in some parts of the world than others, depending on countries’ political

in A new imperative
Chris Duke, Michael Osborne, and Bruce Wilson

evaluate its performance and development; as a well-engaged partner as much as in terms of visible and measured outcomes. Here benchmarking can be an active tool for learning (see Chapter 10) and a measure of behaving as a learning region. Engaging with the university and tertiary sector Across the countries represented in PURE, regions have not in the main been good at engaging with universities, as was noted in Chapter 3. Universities on the other side have, one might argue with less justification, mostly been as bad or worse. The next part of this chapter reminds us

in A new imperative
Chris Duke, Michael Osborne, and Bruce Wilson

about how social systems, institutions and governments as well as placebased communities learn, continue learning and apply their learning to managing 36 MUP_Osborne_Final.indd 36 30/07/2013 15:50 two key partners: (2) higher education better. As we have seen in Chapter 3, the concept of a learning region combines lifelong learning with the idea of learning in and as a locality – what PASCAL recognises in relation to place-making. These changes prompt questions about how social systems, institutions and governments as well as place-based com­munities learn

in A new imperative