Recent decades have seen increasing demands from policy makers for publicly funded universities to be proactive drivers of innovation and development in the places in which they are located, particularly in less developed or peripheral regions. This has led to a resurgence of interest in concepts such as the civic university in understanding the contributions universities might make to local social and economic development. This research explores, and culminates in challenging, many of the orthodoxies underpinning the policy rhetoric around the role of universities as civic anchors. It contends that a more realistic, honest understanding of the limitations of universities’ contribution as local civic anchors coupled with a more nuanced and context sensitive approach to policy design might lead to more mutually beneficial outcomes for them and the places in which they are located.
Lecture by Dr. Louise Kempton, Newcastle University