A new imperative

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.

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