Institutions such as Memorial University have to play a larger role in engaging Newfoundland and Labrador’s various regions to capitalize on social and economic growth, according to a new report published today by the Leslie Harris Centre for Regional Policy and Development at Memorial University.
Reflecting on Regional Engagement of Higher Education Institutions: Have We Learned Anything? by Dr. Wade Locke of Memorial’s Economics Department is a final synthesis of lessons from a 12-country study of the role of higher education institutions in regional development, led by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
In this report, Dr. Locke assesses the key lessons from the OECD project for Newfoundland and Labrador. He highlights this province’s progress compared to the other jurisdictions studied in linking higher education to the regional development needs of the province.
Dr. Locke offers a wide range of recommendations, including firmer, concrete commitments from the university to regional outreach, borrowing from similar and successful international models, and asking government to offer various financial incentives.
“In today‘s economy the university must play an active role in contributing to regional development in all respects,” he said. “While we are doing a good job now there are lessons from elsewhere as well as new issues and opportunities to require us to do even better.”
“This report demonstrates the good work the university is currently doing, but also highlights the need to commit to the hard work ahead,” said Dr. Rob Greenwood, director of the Harris Centre. “For Newfoundland and Labrador to continue its current growth, Memorial must build on its previous efforts and expand its engagement with social and economic partners for a brighter, more prosperous future.”
The report was produced with the help of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, which took the lead in coordinating research on universities and colleges throughout Atlantic Canada. The support from the Applied Research Fund leveraged additional funding from ACOA Moncton, enabling Atlantic Canadian participation in the project.