The role of universities in the regional economic development in Korea
Kim, Jong Han
MetadataShow full item record
Kim, Jong Han
Recently universities are acknowledged as the most important asset for building regional innovation systems and the development of regional economy since the success of the Silicon Valley, Route 128, and Research Triangle Park. Nowadays, for the development of regional economy, universities are required to perform two roles: the direct contribution through setting-up firms, technology transfer, and technical assistance and the indirect contribution through developing regional innovation capabilities, analysis of regional economy and development of innovation norms of openness, trust and cooperation. However, there is wide variation in the substantial outcomes of the roles performed by universities. It is unveiled that the role of universities is influenced by four types of factors: university factors, regional factors, common factors, and environmental factors, which are used as the framework for the case analysis. The university factors are the orientation of a universityâ s management to the regional engagement and its ability to perform the role of a contributor. The regional factors are the industrial base of a region and its cultural characteristics. The common factors, which are related to both a university and a region, are the history of university-region linkages and the presence of champions within a university and in the region. Finally, the environmental factors are changes in the economic and political environments, or in the government policy. Analyzed with this framework, Kyungpook National University in Daegu, Korea is assessed that it did not play an active role in the development of Daeguâ s economy because of its indifference in the regional economic development, the absence of an industrial base in Daegu, Daeguâ s very conservative culture, the insufficient experience of university-region linkages, the absence of champions, and deeply centralized economic power and regulation authorities in Seoul though the university had a considerable ability and there were a number of government programs. For Kyungpook National University to perform an active role in the development of Daeguâ s economy, the university should explicitly include contributions to regional economic development as its important mission. Second, Daegu City should focus on the promotion of the industry sectors in which Kyungpook National University has strength and has to make more efforts to change its very conservative culture into a more venture-friendly culture. Third, both Kyungpook National University and Daegu City need to find out and cultivate their champions to play a key role in building linkages between the university and the Daeguâ s industries on purpose. Finally, government policies should be more systematic to achieve their goals.