Study: Higher Education Institutions Generating Holistic and Transformative Solutions — Higher Education Institution Engagement in Innovation Ecosystems
Period of Implementation
2021 – 2023
USAID Center for Education
- Pulte Institute for Global Development in the Keough School of Global Affairs
- The Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child within the Institute for Educational Initiatives at the University of Notre Dame
- ResilientAfrica Network (RAN)-Regional hub partner in East Africa
- University of Nairobi-Kenya
- Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS)-Philippines
- Center for Collaborative Research (CCR) | SMART CITY Universitas Indonesia (UI)—Indonesia
Kenya, Indonesia, and the Philippines
With the growth of knowledge-intensive economic sectors, the role of higher education in generating and deploying knowledge for economic activity has become a priority concern for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). There is growing evidence that higher education institutions (HEIs) educational role can foster absorption and adaptation of innovation in LMICs, though many of them are not providing the skills needed by industry. This study will explore how HEIs, across their many forms, can positively influence an innovation ecosystem through a variety of roles while considering limiting factors like resources, relationships, and social norms. The study will be carried out on the premise that HEIs in LMICs have the potential to contribute to innovation and that there are several areas in which HEI engagement in innovation ecosystems could be strengthened.
- What are ecosystem actors’ perceptions of the level of development, functionality, and purpose of the innovation ecosystems under study?
- What roles are higher education institutions in this study currently playing in the innovation ecosystems of focus?
- What is the level of coordination and partnership between key actors in the HEIs under study and the actors engaged in the innovation ecosystems under study?
- What resources do the stakeholders at the higher education institutions included in the study need to be able to engage effectively in the innovation ecosystems of focus?
- What are ecosystem actors’ perceptions of higher education institutions’ provision of key resources needed for strengthening the innovation ecosystems of focus?
- Government policy: How does the policy/regulatory environment (legal formation, tax implications of investment, intellectual property protection, level of policy responsiveness to emerging new fields and needs) shape the incentives and disincentives for HEI engagement in innovation ecosystems?
- Higher Education Policy:
1. How do higher education institutions’ policies influence the incentives and disincentives for HEI engagement in innovation ecosystems (e.g., faculty and students' proclivity to engage and business interest in collaborating with HEI stakeholders to meet innovation needs)?
- Market: How do market-related factors in each country shape opportunities for HEI engagement in innovation ecosystems?
- Culture: How do context-specific norms, perceptions, and values affect HEI actors’ proclivity to engage in innovation ecosystems?
Methods & Analysis
The HEIGHTS Innovation Ecosystems study will use a mixed-methods research approach and will follow three phases. Phase 1 involves a review of existing literature and an initial mapping of the relevant stakeholders. Phase 2 involves a systems-thinking workshop with stakeholders. Taken together, Phase 1 and 2 processes will tailor the study to country-specific inquiries. Phase 3 involves further exploration of key themes that emerge from the systems thinking workshop through interviews with important innovation ecosystem stakeholders.
The goal of this study is to inform USAID’s education strategic planning, activity design, and professional development in the areas of HEIs’ engagement in innovation ecosystems. In service of this goal, this study aims to produce evidence-informed strategies to strengthen HEI engagement in innovation ecosystems within USAID partner countries. The audience for the output of this study includes the following stakeholders: USAID Washington’s Center for Education, USAID Missions in Indonesia, Kenya, and the Philippines, as well as other USAID Missions worldwide engaged in Higher Education activities, multilateral organizations funding higher education activities in LMICs, and the governments of the countries of study.
For more information on SHARE, please contact: Andrea McMerty-Brummer (firstname.lastname@example.org).