Title: The entrepreneurial university as an engine for sustainable development

Authors: Nikolaos Apostolopoulos; Christopher Moon; Andreas Walmsley

Addresses: Plymouth Business School, University of Plymouth, Mast House, 24 Sutton Road, Plymouth, PL4 0HJ, UK ' Middlesex Business School, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, Hendon, London NW4 4BT, UK ' Plymouth Business School, University of Plymouth, Mast House, 24 Sutton Road, Plymouth, PL4 0HJ, UK

Abstract: This study adopts a novel approach of conceptualising entrepreneurial universities through the lens of the UN higher education sustainability initiative (HESI). Transcending the narrow approach of the entrepreneurial universities as generating spin-offs, entrepreneurial universities are closely linked with the concept of sustainable development. Interpreting entrepreneurial universities as agents promoting economic, social and environmental change, the HESI can offer a useful framework for expanding the potential of entrepreneurial universities. This study reveals that whilst the majority of HESI signatories only commit to a limited number of sustainable development goals (SDGs), there is sufficient evidence of 'best practices' to regard the HESI as a useful and transformative framework for HEIs that can encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. To this extent, this paper aims to capture the interaction between entrepreneurial universities and the SDGs. However, the paper draws attention to the need for a holistic approach for HEIs that allows for more transdisciplinary thinking and collaboration. It is revealed that this can be challenging for HEIs.

Keywords: entrepreneurial university; sustainability; higher education sustainability initiative; HESI; sustainable development goals; SDGs; entrepreneurship.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIRD.2018.097455

International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development, 2018 Vol.8 No.4, pp.358 - 372

Received: 07 Apr 2018
Accepted: 20 Jun 2018

Published online: 18 Jan 2019 *

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