This paper looks at a little-explored role that universities can play: that of representing a channel for brain gain, enabling regions to attract bright students who may decide to stay after they have graduated. In this way, universities can be a source of selective migration processes and possibly of diverging development paths, by augmenting the capability of economically dynamic regions to attract bright people from the lagging regions. In this paper, we argue that student mobility behaviour is a function not only of the quality of universities, but also of local labour market conditions in the destination locations. The paper relies on a gravity model, and shows that graduate migrations respond to several determinants, among which graduate job vacancies (that is, the dynamism of the local labour market) appear to be essential.
While R&D activities are known for being unevenly distributed across space, how EU policy contributed to their regional dynamics is less explored. Since the 1980s, the EU Framework Programmes (FP) have promoted and supported transnational R&D projects through open and highly competitive calls for funding driven by ‘scientific excellence’ regardless of location. This paper aims to show the drivers of this spatial distribution and evolution of FP participations, arguing that this depends on cumulative effects of regional economic development and growth, while scientific specialization rarely is the best strategy to improve regional competitiveness in terms of FP participations.
Knowledge brokers have emerged as a new type of actors shaping scientific production, influencing science–policy relationships, and thereby contributing to regional competitiveness. Yet, the spatial dimension of these knowledge brokers has received little attention. Using Framework Programme participations in European cities, we analyse and discuss the location strategy of knowledge brokers, highlighting the importance of co-location with the funding source. Our findings show that knowledge brokers are clustered in Brussels, and not elsewhere, to be closer to the European Commission in order to access strategic, informal and tacit information, while contributing to the construction of transnational R&D networks. While this ‘local buzz’ has positive side effects on the regional innovation system of Brussels; knowledge brokers emerge as a new type of spatially clustered actors shaping the distribution of EU funding for ‘European knowledge pipelines’.