Universities as Channels for Structural Fund Interventions Aiming to SME Growth – A Case Study from Finnish and Romanian Regions

Miika Kajanus, Carmen Nastase, Paavo Maskulainen


Currently universities are acting as eminent channels for structural fund interventions in EU countries. This paper studies the experiences of regional universities in a long-standing EU country (Finland) and in a recently joining EU country (Romania). Results are based on expert interviews using the A’WOT-method. The results suggest that universities must have an appropriate understanding of the real development needs of SMEs and the region, including a good understanding about the ideas behind the regional development policies and structural fund programmes. This understanding cannot be established without strategic partnerships. By combining these two perspectives, universities should take a proactive role in the development of regional economies. This means a transformation from a follower into a co-explorer of future opportunities hand in hand with local enterprises.

Full Text: