Library Element Book and Thesis

The Future of Universities Thoughtbook - 40 perspectives of how engaged and entrepreneurial universities will drive growth and shape our knowledge-driven future until 2040

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 23 August 2018

The Future of Universities Thoughtbook. 40 perspectives on how engaged and entrepreneurial universities will drive growth and shape our knowledge-driven future until 2040. Eds. Todd Davey, Arno Meerman, Balzhan Orazbayeva, Max Riedel, Victoria Galán-Muros, Carolin Plewa & Natascha Eckert. University Industry Innovation Network, 2018


Predicting the future is an impossible and futile exercise, hence effective ways of anticipating future events are few and far between. Well intended future predictions often become amusing quotes in presentations many years later. Such as, the advice from a president of the Michigan Savings Bank given to Henry Ford’s lawyer Horace Rackham not to invest in the Ford Motor Co: “The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.”

Nevertheless, the exercise of estimating or predicting the future triggers (1) simultaneous consideration of the events of the past, (2) estimation of the present situation, the most important forces affecting it and factors for success as well as (3) brainstorming and analysing the likely future development possibilities. These aspects are the key elements of strategy development. Yes, the future may be impossible to predict, but by working together to envisage a course for a desirable ‘tomorrow’, it is possible to embrace adaptability and innovativeness and ultimately turn uncertainty into opportunity.

Given this highly complex activity and the high likelihood of error, the approach taken in this Thoughtbook was to invite global experts to offer a diversity of perspectives. We really wanted to challenge the thinking about the university by selecting authors who: 
–      are already challenging and shaping the development of universities, 
–      are present or future ‘game-changers’ and ‘thought-leaders’,
–      potentially already have a prominent position of power with respect to universities globally, 
–      together can provide a 360-degree view of universities from the vantage of different stakeholder groups.

In doing so, a range of ‘possible futures’ emerge, from more conservative estimations predicting ‘business as usual’ for universities, to situations whereby universities are superseded by technology and/or new market-facing competitors. These ‘possible futures’ then provide a basis for the better establishment of university and industry strategies, which enable more efficient investment of resources and more productive outcomes.

When reading the contributions, a general consensus around the opportunities and threats facing universities emerge. Like our experts’ contributions, you will undoubtedly lurch from optimism to doom with respect to the future of the university, and back again. If this is the case, then we have achieved our major ambition with the Thoughtbook! … to take your thinking about the university of the future to pieces, and then offer insights into how you can piece a realistic future view back together.

Considering this, the Future of Universities Thoughtbook (FUT) becomes a manifesto for the development of the Future-Oriented University. A vision for the university by 2040 (University 4.0) whereby academics and students work in real time symbiotic partnerships with industry, government and societal stakeholders to simultaneously create and implement new knowledge and solutions to address business and social issues. Those universities that drive change hard within their institutions will get a head start on the rest by embracing uncertainty and a more innovative evolution whilst, if some of the contributions are precise, having a better chance of surviving.





  1. Paul Hannon | Is This the End of Universities as We Know Them?
  2. Fiona Godsman | Change is Inevitable – It’s Time to Disrupt the Higher Education System
  3. Christer Windeløv-Lidzélius | Change-Makers in the Making
  4. Hans Wissema | The New Learning
  5. Dirk Van Damme | Universities Transforming Teaching and Learning to Cope with a Radically Changing Skill Demand
  6. Manuel Dolderer | Curiosity-Driven Education or How to Prepare Students for the Digital Future
  7. Benjamin Conard | Why Was the Most Valuable Experience at My University NOT Part of My Degree
  8. Marko Grdošić | Meaningful Teaching and Training – Higher Education of the Future


  1. Scott Shane and Michael Goldberg | Technology Will Transform University Entrepreneurship Programs
  2. Paolo Bianco | Towards the Virtual University
  3. Steve Price | Leadership Skills are at Risk from the Virtual University
  4. Maria Chiara Carrozza | Higher Education: Youth, Universities, Mobility, Research and Technology
  5.  Alessandro Curioni | How Data and AI May Reshape Education
  6. Soraya M. Coley | The Future of Education, Work and Human Engagement
  7. Michael Bolle | In 2040, Universities Will Be a Place of Dreams


  1. Markus Perkmann | Universities on the Market: A Strategic Playbook for the Next 20 Years
  2. Marek Kwiek | The Sharply Stratified Academic World in 2040 – and Why It Is Unavoidable 
  3. Allen Alexander | The Entrepreneurial Academic – Fighting against a ‘Race to the Bottom’
  4. Wim van Saarloos | The University Challenge to Balance Society’s Increased Expectations Concerning Outreach, Media Attention, as well as Societal and Economic Impact
  5. Natascha Eckert | „Freedom of Science“ or „Freedom from Science“?
  6. Thomas Baaken | SCIENCE Fiction – A Short (His)Story of the Future


  1. John Goddard | The Civic University: Confronting Future Challenges
  2. Manuel Alonso | Is University Research Aiming to Address What Really Matters
  3. Søren Bregenholt | Mission-Based Universities Driving Cross-Sector Collaboration to Meet UNs Sustainable Development Goals
  4. Noel Lindsay | Facilitating Entrepreneurship in Communities to Augment University Engagement: Can This Wait for the Future?
  5. Kevin Kecskes | Radical Epistemic Reset: Educating for Just Communities Worldwide
  6. Carolin Plewa, Victoria Galán-Muros, Balzhan Orazbayeva | Co-Creating Value: The Present and Future of Higher Education


  1. Peter Rohan | Universities – Engagement or Irrelevance – in 2040
  2. Rajiv Dhawan | University-Industry Collaboration in the “Asian Century”
  3. Arnaldo Abruzzini | 2040: When Universities and Businesses Will Work in Symbiosis
  4. Najib Abusalbi | Collaboration for a More Relevant Education
  5. Keith Herrmann | Universities Inside out: Situating University-Business Co-Operation at the Centre of the Student Learning Journey
  6. Julie Wagner | Tearing Down Real Walls: A Place-Based Approach to University-Industry Collaboration
  7. Mikko Korpela and Toni Pienonen | Adhocracy Now
  8. Rumyana Trencheva | New Learning Approaches Needed


  1. Andreas Altmann | Rethink Regulation and Business Models – a Blueprint to Release Universities from the Shackles
  2. Sanni Grahn-Laasonen | Universities in the Global Networks of the Future
  3. Michel Bénard | Getting out of the Silos – Two Suggestions
  4. Rolf Tarrach and Lidia Borrell-Damian | Will European Universities in 2040 Still Teach and Research?
  5. Enrique Cabrero-Mendoza | How to Picture Universities in 2040?
  6. Klaus Sailer and Mirko Franck | A Pathway to a Sustainable Future through New Ways of Learning and Applying Knowledge
  7. Dominik Böhler and Oliver Bücken | Effectual Higher Education
  8. Todd Davey, Arno Meerman, Max Riedel | In a Race between Education and Catastrophe the 4th Generation University is Winning








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