The basic research objective of the project “The contribution of Higher Education Institutions to Strengthen Socio-economic Development of Peripheral Regions in Norway and the Czech Republic” is to identify, assess and strengthen the possible ways of mutual influence and collaboration between regions and higher education institutions performing in these regions. The ultimate aim is to help strengthen local development processes by critically analysing regional dynamics and strategic imperatives and the ways in which these are being addressed (or not) by higher education institutions (through research and teaching activities as well as their “third roles”). In so doing, one of the project’s main aims is to strengthen the basis for long-term collaboration between regional actors at various levels and higher education institutions.

The above mentioned theme will be the subject of research in peripheral regions of the Czech Republic and Norway and in higher education institutions located and functioning in these regions. The research will focus on the processes and structures constraining and/or enabling higher education institutions to more actively contribute to of the broader development of their host regions. The international collaboration, cross-country/case comparisons and overall assessment and recommendations represent significant innovations in this area.

Various methodological approaches will be used, namely: analysis of secondary documents; comparative analysis; expert opinions; focus groups; qualitative field research in the given regions and higher education institutions; workshops, seminars and a conference; and external reviews. The systematic collaboration within the international research project team will be established.

One long-term project result will be the development of a Czech and Norwegian network of researchers (including female and young colleagues) as a sustainable basis for further collaboration and knowledge transfer.

The main tangible project results will be: a) the mapping of structural and programmatic elements that ease/hamper the regional role of higher education institutions; b) a set of novel methodological approaches (elaborated into the guidelines for both countries) in the form of a practical Tool Kit with pragmatic solutions and recommendations, c) a set of joint scientific publications (journal and book form).

The (3) partner institutions will be the Centre for Higher Education Studies, Charles University in Prague – Faculty of Humanities in the Czech Republic and Agderforskning AS in Norway. The successful completion of the proposed project will be strongly supported by the multidisciplinary composition of the project team.