Finding ways to identify and promote synergies between HEIs and local cities and regions is one of the goals of the next OECD conference in Seville Spain


The OECD Conference in Seville on the 10-11 February 2011 aims to identify and promote the best ways HEIs can contribute to the social, economic and cultural development of their local regions and cities.


The time of higher education institutions (HEIs) living as islands and pursuing knowledge for its own sake is over. In the knowledge economy, HEIs need to be drivers of the economic development of their local regions and cities.  In addition, the global economic and financial crisis means OECD countries are increasingly looking for ways to support higher education institutions to do more to help the local and national economy.


The next OECD conference “Higher Education in Cities and Regions: For Stronger, Cleaner and Fairer Regions”, is an opportunity for HEIs to leave their islands and engage with the relevant stakeholders in regional and city development. Based on the OECD Reviews of Higher Education in Regional and City Development, carried out all over the world since 2005, policy makers and higher education experts will discuss how governments can mobilise HEIs to better support local economic, social, and cultural development.


HEIs can play a key role in promoting innovation and human capital development. (For those of you who don’t speak economic terminology, human capital development is essentially a way to increase people’s productivity through education and training). By playing this role, HEIs can be effective drivers of national and international excellence by building internationally competitive regions. Cluster theory fans, this is your conference.


In France, for example, a recent report found that universities in cities were booming. The formation of research and higher education clusters, known as PRES (pôles de recherche et d'enseignement supérieur), enabled the Ile-de-France and other dominant regions to obtain large-scale infrastructure and equipment necessary to develop scientific and technological research.


No (wo)man is an island, and no university stands without its region. The upcoming conference will promote the idea that similarly, no country stands, (or at least stays competitive), without its higher education institutions. A partnership worth working on.


For more information, check out the conference website.


The illustrious list of speakers include: