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The impact of university STEM assets: a systematic review of the empirical evidence

Billing, Chloe, Bramley, George, Ioramashvili, Carolin, Lynam, Robert, Zorrilla, Magda Cepeda, Collinson, Simon, Humphreys, Kelvin, Kollydas, Konstantinos, Pan, Fengjie, Pugh, Alice, Sevinc, Deniz and Yuan, Pei Yu (2023) The impact of university STEM assets: a systematic review of the empirical evidence. PLOS ONE, 18 (6). ISSN 1932-6203

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Identification Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0287005


Background Innovation ecosystems are an important driver of regional economic growth and development. STEM assets connected to universities may play an important role in such ecosystems. Objective To systematically review the literature relating to the effect of university STEM assets on regional economies and innovation ecosystems, providing a better understanding of how the impact is generated and constrained, as well as identifying any gaps in knowledge. Methods Keyword and text word searches using the Web of Science Core Collection (Clarivate), Econlit (EBSCO) and ERIC (EBSCO) were performed in July 2021 and February 2023. Papers were double screened on abstract and title, and were included if there was consensus that they fulfilled the inclusion criteria of: (i) relating to an OECD country; (ii) having been published between 1 January 2010 and 28 February 2023; and (iii) concerning the impact of STEM assets. Data extraction was undertaken for each article by a single reviewer and checked by a second reviewer. Due to the heterogeneity of the study designs and outcome measures used, it was not possible to perform a quantitative synthesis of results. A narrative synthesis was subsequently undertaken. Results Of the 162 articles identified for detailed review, 34 were accepted as being sufficiently relevant to the study to be included for final analysis. Three important features identified were that the literature: i) is predominately concerned with supporting new businesses; ii) describes a high level of involvement with a university in providing that support; and iii studies economic impacts at local, regional and national levels. Discussion The evidence points to a gap in the literature relating to looking at the broader impact of STEM assets and any corresponding transformational, system-level effects that go beyond narrowly defined, short to medium-term outcomes. The main limitation of this review is that information on STEM assets in the non-academic literature is not captured.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: L Education
H Social Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2023 11:33
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 21:54

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