Welcome to the ECPR Standing Group on Knowledge Politics and Policies! 

‘The Politics of Higher Education, Research and Innovation’ Standing Group @ ECPR 2018 in Hamburg. Photo credits: Mari Elken

This Standing Group brings together scholars whose work relates to the deeply interconnected fields of higher education, research, and innovation to encourage debates and research on the politics and policies in these areas. We started out as the UACES Collaborative Research Network on the European Research Area (2013-2016).

Over the past decades, several developments have contributed to the growing political significance of higher education, research, and innovation in international, regional, and national arenas. First, the steady trend towards the massification of higher education throughout the world implies that more and more of the world’s population is engaging in tertiary education. This has led to both increased public and private investments in the sector, as well as politically salient discussions concerning access and quality (excellence). Second, the turn towards ‘knowledge’ as providing policy solutions to grand societal challenges has placed higher education, research, and innovation at the centre stage of ‘smart’ multi-level policymaking. And third, the economies and societies of today are described as ‘knowledge-based’ that draw their competitive advantage from well-functioning knowledge sectors.

To advance contemporary political research, it is essential to attend to how politics configure developments in the higher education, research, and innovation sectors, and how these developments in turn reconfigure politics. This Standing Group is a collaborative platform that facilitates interdisciplinary research on the politics and policies of higher education, research, and innovation. The goal is to offer sustained analyses of these developments by generating comparative insights on all aspects of scholarly research—methodologies, theories, data collection, processing and analysis—into the dynamics and complexities of knowledge policymaking around the world.

Standing Group meeting, 2018. Photo credits: Mari Elken

 Nicoline Frolich and Ivar Bleiklie chair panel on higher education policy

SG Section at ECPR 2017, University of Oslo