University of Oulu

Niinikoski, Eija-Riitta; Kelhä, Laura; Isoherranen, Ville (2017) The European cohesion policy and structural funds in sparsely populated areas : a case study of the University of Oulu International Journal of Management, Knowledge and Learning, 6(1), 77–96

The European cohesion policy and structural funds in sparsely populated areas : a case study of the University of Oulu

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Author: Niinikoski, Eija-Riitta1; Kelhä, Laura1; Isoherranen, Ville1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: ToKnowPress, 2017
Publish Date: 2018-01-15


The regional policy is one of the European Union’s main investment policies to support regional equality and convergence, cohesion policy being one of its key policy areas and aiming to support job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth, sustainable development and citizens’ quality of life. Cohesion and structural funds comprise almost a third of the total EU budget. As education, research and innovation are amongst the main objectives of these policies, universities play an important role in regional development, research and education being their main tasks, while interaction with society the third one. The aim of this study is to examine how universities participate in cohesion policy and regional development by utilising structural funds in fulfilling their third task (RQ1) and how do the closest stakeholder groups view the regional role of the university (RQ2). A single case study was conducted having the Oulu Southern Institute (OSI) of the University of Oulu as the case study unit. The data was collected using an adapted Delphi method in a workshop with OSI staff, from an online questionnaire to OSI’s closest stakeholders and from in-depth interviews to examine the themes that arose in the questionnaire answers. In the findings, the importance of the university unit for regional development is clearly evident. Structural funds are the main tools for universities to stimulate development, the university was seen as a crucial actor, knowledge creator, collaboration partner and regional developer, as well as a fundamental part of the regional innovation system. Practitioners and interested academics might find the results beneficial. According to the findings, the university should participate in recommending development areas for cohesion policy guidelines for the next structural fund period.

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Series: International journal of management, knowledge and learning
ISSN: 2232-5107
ISSN-E: 2232-5697
ISSN-L: 2232-5107
Volume: 6
Issue: 1
Pages: 77 - 96
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: © 2017 The Authors. This paper is published under the terms of the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License (