The Universities of Applied Sciences play an important role in European competitiveness and innovation capacity. This is particularly true at the local level, where PHE institutions act
as a catalyst – as a crucial intersection, so to speak – between local SMEs, administrative bodies and civil society. In addition to their role in local economies, the UAS applied research activities also play an important role in developing students’ entrepreneurship skills, contributing to further economic growth and job creation in their geographical context.
Despite the wide benefits of the UAS presence in a regional environment, there is not much data collected at the EU level on the impact that Universities of Applied Science have on their surrounding economies, nor on their cooperation patterns and on their knowledge transfer activities within a local dimension. Some of the collected data is not even categorized sufficiently in order to mark the difference between UAS and traditional universities, which makes it even harder to assess their impact on the territory and on the whole European PHE ecosystem.
There is not so much data either on the assessment of the specific, user-oriented RDI activities of the UAS. Due to their practical approach and peculiar features, the applied RDI (and – consequently– its regional impact) doesn’t ft the metrics used for research activities carried on in traditional universities. Even as a concept, the RDI activity performed by European UAS is still a relatively new phenomenon – which makes its definition and impact assessment extremely complex and fragmented.