Report: City-University co-operation to the next level



City and university are “co-producers” of the urban knowledge economy. The future of any university city depends to an increasing extent on the fruitful and sustainable co-operation between the two sides, in a number of fields. In this study, we have analyzed trends, practices and opportunities for collaboration, but also sketched recurrent tensions, dilemmas and problems in the relationship.

It consists of three parts: a state-of-the-art report, a set of partner profiles, and a synthesis.

Part I, the “state of the art” report, puts the topic of city-university collaboration in its international context. It contains an overview of current literature and best-practices regarding city-university co-operation. It is based on a review of the academic and policy literature, and insights of the author. This part intends to create a sound conceptual basis of the exchange activities in the next 2.5 years in the EUniverCities URBACTnetwork.

Part II contains brief descriptions of the partner cities in the network. For each city, there is a mini-chapter describing the local situation, current types of co-operation, and challenges and problems regarding the university-city nexus. This part is based on interviews held in each city, with key informants from city, university and other organizations. This part makes clear that each city has particular challenges.

Part III, finally, is a synthesis. It compares the cities with each other, wraps up, and sketches common issues and challenges in the cities. It sets the focus for the activities in the partnership.

The study was commissioned by the EUniverCities Urbact-network, that unites 10 medium-sized European cities that seek to improve the university-city nexus. By applying to the URBACT programme, they want to learn from each other’s experiences and practices, and move forward as successful and inclusive knowledge cities. The baseline study lays a foundation under the activities of the network in the coming 2.5 years.

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