THE FINANCIAL AUTONOMY OF UNIVERSITIES AND THE NATIONAL INNOVATION PERFORMANCE IN EUROPE: POSSIBLE LINKAGES IN FINLAND AND OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
In Europe the usefulness of science to society and competitiveness through innovation are very topical higher education policies. From this viewpoint, financial autonomy is seen as a powerful lever to promote competitiveness. However, we do not know much about the financial autonomy of universities or about its linkages to innovation economy. In Finland, the new frames for the financial autonomy of universities were introduced five years ago using extensive national university reform. This paper considers the levels of different dimensions of financial autonomy of universities and national input innovation performance in Finland and other European countries. In addition, this paper investigated linkages between input and output innovation performance. This trial suggests that the average level of financial autonomy yielded statistical differences between countries’ input innovation performance. However, these differences existed only related to the type of public funding and the establishment of degree programmes. Moreover, two European countries – having low financial autonomy in these elements – are successful in their input innovation performance. The latest trends to act independent legal and financial entities seemed not to generate innovation success. Several countries that have high financial autonomy in some other dimensions, ranked weaker in their input innovation performance. Innovation input and output performance are strongly interrelated in Europe. However, it is research and development and linkages between innovation actors rather than higher education students or graduates that were important to countries’ success in their innovation output performance.
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