Beyond the third mission: Exploring the emerging university function of co-creation for sustainability

  title={Beyond the third mission: Exploring the emerging university function of co-creation for sustainability},
  author={Gregory Trencher and Masaru Yarime and Kes McCormick and Christopher Doll and Steven B. Kraines},
  journal={Science and Public Policy},
This paper explores a global trend where universities are collaborating with government, industry and civil society to advance the sustainable transformation of a specific geographical area or societal sub-system. With empirical evidence, we argue that this function of ‘co-creation for sustainability’ could be interpreted as the seeds of an emerging, new mission for the university. We demonstrate that this still evolving mission differs significantly from the economic focus of the third mission… Expand

Figures and Tables from this paper

Implementing Sustainability Co-Creation between Universities and Society: A Typology-Based Understanding
Universities are under mounting pressure to partner with societal stakeholders and organizations to collaboratively create and implement sustainability-advancing knowledge, tools, and societalExpand
Universities as the engine of transformational sustainability toward delivering the sustainable development goals
Purpose Universities can do more to deliver against the sustainable development goals (SDGs), working with faculty, staff and students, as well as their wider stakeholder community and alumni body.Expand
Collaborating for transformation: applying the Co-Laboratorio approach to bridge research, pedagogy and practice
ABSTRACT Intractable issues such as poverty, environmental degradation and economic and social exclusions, as exemplified in the SDGs, are inherently systemic problems that require multi-actorExpand
Sustainability Transfer as a Concept for Universities in Regional Transformation—A Case Study
The research object of this study is the in-depth discourse on the sustainability transfer activities of higher education institutions (HEIs) and their contribution to a regional sustainableExpand
University engagement in achieving sustainable development goals: a synthesis of case studies from the SUEUAA study
While initial discussions of the third mission of universities focussed on market-orientated behaviours of universities, more recently it has been connected to activities that focus on social justiceExpand
Universities’ Emerging Missions to Foster Sustainability of Rural Areas: Multiple Case Studies From The Marche Region☆
Abstract This paper explores a new emerging function for Universities: that of co-creation for sustainability ( Trencher et al., 2013 , Trencher et al., 2014a , Trencher et al., 2014b ). ContributionExpand
Strengthening the science–policy–industry interface for progressing toward sustainability: a systems thinking view
AbstractThe purpose of this paper was to discuss the need of “general reference frameworks that can support the understanding of complex phenomena related to sustainability and sustainableExpand
A conceptual synthesis of organisational transformation: How to diagnose, and navigate, pathways for sustainability at universities?
Abstract Universities will play a profound role in a century in which society will be judged by its capacity for self-transformation in response to pandemic crises of climate change and capitalism.Expand
“Living labs” for sustainability
Purpose – Universities can do more to deliver against the sustainable development goals (SDGs), working with faculty, staff and students, as well as their wider stakeholder community and alumni body.Expand
Strengthening local economy – an example of higher education institutions’ engagement in “co-creation for sustainability”
Major societal challenges like energy efficiency, climate change and resource scarcity trigger and influence continuous change processes worldwide, nationwide, but also on all regional levels. TheyExpand


Co-creating sustainability: cross-sector university collaborations for driving sustainable urban transformations
Abstract This paper attempts to ‘connect the dots’ between several cases and provide a comprehensive global analysis of the trend of universities reaching across campus boundaries to formExpand
(Re)conceptualising the academy: Institutional development of and beyond the third mission
Framed in terms of the Third Mission, the “enterprise” or “entrepreneurial” university has increasingly become normalised in public policy; however there remains much contention about the implicationExpand
Sustainability science: building a new discipline
In scientific and academic circles worldwide, the opportunity to develop the emerging discipline of sustainability science has never been greater. This new science has its origins in the concept ofExpand
Learning from University-Community Partnerships (Past and Present) for Sustainable Development
As universities attempt to expand their societal relevance by responding to and engaging with local and regional societal challenges, new university-community partnerships designed to promoteExpand
Bridging science with application for sustainability: Private-public partnerships in the novatlantis pilot-region of Basel
This Paper discusses experiences from the novatlantis pilot-region Basel in the light of concepts developed by the international Initiative on Science and Technology for Sustainability (ISTS). ItExpand
The role of universities in fostering sustainable development at the regional level
Abstract Universities have a key influence on society in a two-fold manner: they train and educate people and they participate in governance at the national and regional level. This paper focuses onExpand
Transition Experiments: Exploring societal changes towards sustainability
This PhD thesis presents the outcome of exploratory research on how transition experiments can be used as instruments to further sustainable development. A transition experiment is a specific typeExpand
Constructing sustainability science: emerging perspectives and research trajectories
Over the last decade, sustainability science has emerged as an interdisciplinary and innovative field attempting to conduct problem-driven research that links knowledge to action. As theExpand
Higher education as a change agent for sustainability in different cultures and contexts
Purpose – The goal of this paper is to enhance consideration for the potential for institutions of higher education throughout the world, in different cultures and contexts, to be change agents forExpand
Sustainability experiments in Asia: innovations shaping alternative development pathways?
Global sustainability is increasingly influenced by processes of industrialisation and urbanization in non-OECD countries, especially in Asia. Growth models suggest that developing economies andExpand