The impact of a Higher Education Institution on Socioeconomic Development: the study case of the Polytechnic Institute of Beja

Translated title of the contribution: O Impacto de uma Instituição de Ensino Superior no Desenvolvimento Socioeconómico: O estudo de caso do Instituto Politécnico de Beja

Sandra Isabel Gonçalves da Saúde Saúde, Carlos Borralho, Isidro Féria, Sandra Lopes

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It is widely recognized that the investment in human capital, innovation, and knowledge transfer is essential to sustainable development and growth. Within this context, the role and action of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are vital.
Being, by nature, knowledge and learning centers, the HEIs were confirmed in the 90’s, in the context of the so-called Knowledge Society, as strategic agents of innovation, crucial to support the socioeconomic competitiveness of countries and regions.
The debate over the role of the HEI in society, however, has often been characterized by misunderstanding, oversimplification, and/or inadequate support of clear empirical evidence. In fact, there has been a tendency to restrict the analysis of the role of HEIs to their contribution to the development of science and the provision of skilled human resources, often ignoring their direct impact on the economic activity or on the social dynamics of the territory.
As a result, and in the context of the economic and financial crisis that Portugal is now facing, it seems particularly relevant to analyze the socioeconomic impact of the HEIs. This paper aims to reflect on the role and impact of higher education on regional development, based on the reality of public higher education in Portugal and, more specifically, the case study of the Polytechnic Institute of Beja (IPBeja). This institution belongs to the subsystem of polytechnic higher education and is located in a region that has one of the lowest economic ratios and population density in Europe.
Original languageMultiple languages
Pages (from-to)151-166
Number of pages16
JournalCopernican Journal of Finance & Accounting
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventXXIV Meeting of the Economics of Education Association - Madrid, Spain
Duration: 25 Jun 201526 Jun 2015
Conference number: 24


  • Higher Education
  • Regional Development
  • Socioeconomic Impacts.

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