Higher education in a material world: Constraints to digital innovation in Portuguese universities and polytechnic institutes

Paulo Nuno Vicente, Margarida Lucas, Vânia Carlos, Pedro Bem-Haja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Over the past decade, the societal impact of digital transformation, with the prospects of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, has led to an innovation imperative in European policymaking regarding higher education institutions (HEIs). However, not only is the institutional strategic planning of HEIs still understudied, as the individual perceptions of faculty members about existing constraints to digital innovation have been particularly overlooked. This article examines Portuguese universities and polytechnic institutes, the two components of the national higher education system, to (1) characterize the quality of the available digital infrastructure and resources (hardware and software) and (2) identify the main constraints to digital innovation. The study conducts the most comprehensive online questionnaire available to date on these topics across Portuguese HEIs (N = 547). The main constraints to digital innovation correspond to limited infrastructure and resources, lack of funding opportunities, insufficient technological resources, a conservative academic culture, and a lack of technical support. These barriers impact Portuguese regional development, as discussed in this study, highlighting the need for the modernization of HEIs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEducation and Information Technologies
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Digital infrastructure
  • Digital innovation
  • Higher education
  • Portugal
  • Regional development

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