Valuing knowledge transfer: a new approach to assessing the broader impact of higher education institutions

Ursula Kelly, Iain McNicoll, Nuffield Foundation (Funder), Scottish Funding Council (Funder)

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There is considerable policy interest in exploring the overall value of higher education to society and in how higher education can support wider economic growth and development through 'knowledge transfer' from higher education institutions. Until fairly recently consideration of 'knowledge transfer' activity has tended to be mainly focussed on those HEI outputs that are commercial or market-based, relate to interaction with businesses and which are also relatively easy to measure (licensing, patents, consultancy contracts and so on). However it is beginning to be recognised that non-market outputs of higher education institutions (such as community interactions) could also have significant economic and social value linked to their support of knowledge flow to the wider community. This paper presents a new perspective on knowledge transfer from institutions. It demonstrates the application of welfare economic principles to estimate the value of non-market outputs of higher education institutions and It presents the results of a pilot study of 3 areas of non-market activity of Scottish higher education institutions, namely community engagement, cultural outreach and public policy advisory activity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2009
EventTriple Helix VII - Glasgow
Duration: 17 Jun 200919 Jun 2009


ConferenceTriple Helix VII


  • knowledge transfer
  • higher education
  • economic value
  • public policy
  • cultural engagement
  • community engagement

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