Understanding the evolution of the entrepreneurial university: The case of English Higher Education

Mabel Sanchez Barrioluengo, Elvira Uyarra, Fumi Kitagawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There has been strong policy interest in universities becoming more entrepreneurial and engaging in knowledge exchange activities as part of an expanding third mission agenda.However understanding the evolution and diversity of such activities is limited. Using longitudinal data from the Higher Education Business Community Interaction (HEBCI) Survey, this study examines the evolving configuration of universities’ knowledge exchange activities and stakeholders by analysing distinctive clusters of English universities. We find an increasingly diverse profile of third mission activities across different types of universities: Russell Group universities increasingly focus on research oriented activities typically in partnership with large firms and non-commercial organisations; the second group of Old universities engage in a broad range of knowledge exchange activities with low specialization over time; and newer, less research intensive universities, increasingly rely on activities such as consultancy and formation of spinoffs. A decreased engagement with SMEs and a lower share of knowledge exchange activities at the regional level are observed across the time studied. The paper concludes by emphasising the need to take a broadened and differentiated analytical framework by recognising the variety of capacities and approaches adopted by different types of universities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHigher Education Quarterly
Early online date22 Aug 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Aug 2019


  • entrepreneurial university
  • third mission
  • knowledge exchange

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