Study on higher education institutions and local development

Economic development is increasingly related to the ability of a territory to foster innovation and attract highly skilled human capital. For this reason, it is important to collect evidence about the way Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) affect territorial development in Europe. The aim of this research is to identify the pathways through which universities affect local development, so that it might be possible to make policy recommendations based on sound evidence. In particular, we will investigate which activities of HEIs (teaching, research, knowledge transfer) are more effective at stimulating local economic development. We will also be able to disaggregate the analysis by subject, or scientific discipline. The study will consist of two parts. Firstly, a dataset combining information on universities, firms, and local economies will be created integrating information from different sources. Secondly, the dataset will be used to perform several empirical analyses on how specific activities of universities affect the local economy. The complementarity and substitution effects of different activities of universities (teaching, research, knowledge transfer) will be studied at this stage, together with their contribution to innovation, growth and development.


Bonaccorsi, A., Biancardi, D., Sanchez Barrioluengo, M. and Biagi, F., Study on Higher Education Institutions and Local Development, EUR 29802 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2019, ISBN 978-92-76-08846-2, doi:10.2760/369557, JRC117272.

Date: 2017 to 2018


  • Andrea Bonaccorsi
    Former Researcher
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