The Impact of New HEIs on Regional Growth & Development

Lena Lindhé from Sweden's University West

Lena Lindhé (Sweden)

Since 2013 Lena Lindhe has been Strategic Development Officer at University West, where she has worked since 1997. The focus of her work is external relations,strategic and structural collaboration, mainly with the public sector. She is chair of the Collaboration Council at University West and is also involved with widening participation in higher education, both locally and nationally through the Swedish network Include


This session examines the impact of a new university on regional prosperity, with particular reference to the importance of University West on the labour market and business in the region of Fyrbodal in Västra Götaland, Sweden.

The percentage of university graduates in this area of 1.5 million inhabitants has almost doubled since the establishment of University West in 1990. The university has also helped create 1,250 jobs in the region. Those are some of the results from a recent regional economic impact study carried out by University West and Västra Götaland which now serves as part of the foundation for new collaboration between the university and the 14 municipalities in Fyrbodal.

Research has shown that university-educated employees have accounted for 50% of the growth in Swedish companies in recent years; however, there is still a shortage of employees with higher education qualifications in many Swedish regions. In 1990, the proportion of university-educated adults in the area of Fyrbodal was 18 percent of the population; by 2014 the proportion had grown to 32 percent.

The regional economic impact study has been of great use in the dialogue with politicians in Fyrbodal concerning the recent establishment of a sustainable collaboration arena between the university and the 14 municipalities - Kommunakademin Väst. The session will include a short presentation of the study, as well as an introduction to the structure and aim of the collaboration arena, and will include a broad discussion of the wider issues raised.