Agents of change: universities as development hubs

Jens Aage Hansen, Martin Lehmann

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Capacity building for sustainable development has been implemented and tested over the last decade through university and university consortia networking. Universities from Africa (Botswana and South Africa), Asia (Malaysia and Thailand), Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua) and Europe (Denmark) participated with graduate students and faculty. Initially some programmes emphasised research and others higher education, but eventually a blend of research and higher education was found to be more productive. Links to external partners in public and private business have been established and proven successful in terms of mutual benefits. Activities comprise joint evolution of new study curricula (including shift of the learning paradigm to problem oriented and project based learning), human resource development, and joint research. The results are promising in terms of concrete results within each type of activity and together they provide vital steps in capacity building in tertiary education to the benefit of development and environment. Universities should play a central role in such global efforts to strengthen tertiary education. Modes of operation are still deficient, but ?Universities as Development Hubs? is suggested as a concept to study further and modify to needs. Some of the results and their implications are presented in this paper and more are documented by references. In short, universities in joint action with business and society at large are prerequisites for constructing and maintaining knowledge societies, and the need for these is equally important in established and developing economies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Issue number9-11
Pages (from-to)820-829
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Capacity development
  • Problem oriented and project based learning
  • University outreach
  • Auto-learning society
  • Sustainable Development


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