The Entrepreneurial University and the UN Higher Education Sustainability Initiative

Nikolaos Apostolopoulos, Christopher Moon, Andreas Walmsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study adopts a novel approach of conceptualising entrepreneurial universities through the lens of the UN higher education sustainability initiative (HESI). Transcending the narrow approach of the entrepreneurial universities as generating spin-offs, entrepreneurial universities are closely linked with the concept of sustainable development. Interpreting entrepreneurial universities as agents promoting economic, social and environmental change, the HESI can offer a useful framework for expanding the potential of entrepreneurial universities. This study reveals that whilst the majority of HESI signatories only commit to a limited number of sustainable development goals (SDGs), there is sufficient evidence of 'best practices' to regard the HESI as a useful and transformative framework for HEIs that can encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. To this extent, this paper aims to capture the interaction between entrepreneurial universities and the SDGs. However, the paper draws attention to the need for a holistic approach for HEIs that allows for more transdisciplinary thinking and collaboration. It is revealed that this can be challenging for HEIs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-372
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation and Regional Development
Issue number4
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Journal volume backdated to 2018. Article first published online on 23rd January 2019.


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