WIT Press

The Role Of Universities In Innovation And Sustainable Development


Free (open access)





Page Range

131 - 139




216 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


G. Vidican


The role of universities in innovation and economic development has been widely documented. However, universities’ contribution to sustainable development and innovation in renewable energy technologies has not been previously researched. We use case study analysis to explore the knowledge exchange mechanisms between university and industry in fostering innovation in the solar photovoltaic sector and to sustainable development in general, in different locales. We believe that universities play a key role in both technology development and economic growth, and we hypothesize that the way in which these goals are achieved depends on the specifics of the sector, the local economy, and the larger institutional environment. We find that the role of universities in innovation and sustainable development is most valuable for the private and public sector in five main areas: (a) contributing to fundamental research; (b) combining existing knowledge; (c) education and training (curriculum development); (d) creating space for open exploration of ideas; (e) community involvement. Hence, what matters is not only technology development, but also contributions in terms of assimilation and absorption of these factors by various social groups, such that the result is a change in behaviour or practices. Keywords: universities, innovation, sustainability, renewable energy, solar photovoltaic. 1 Introduction The last decade has been marked by new evidence showing the urgency of climate change problems and calling for action to not only better understand


universities, innovation, sustainability, renewable energy, solar photovoltaic.