Projects: HE research

The Third Mission of universities and the Role of Higher Education in the Triangle of Education, Research and Innovation

This project was conducted in two parts. First a study about the role of the Third Mission of universisties was analysed conceptually and based on a case study of the region of Vienna. A main part was the analysis of the international dicouses about the missions of university. As another part this conceptual analysis was augmented by an empirical qualitative study of attitutdes and practices of univeristies located in the Vienna region. This part was commissioned by the City of Vienna.
A second part has added a critical review of the feasibility of the concept of the knowledge triangle (KT) as a basis for policy making in a broader view in the European and OECD region. The analysis provides an analytical framework and proceeds by looking at the three two-way-relationships included, and then tries to draw extrapolations towards the three-way relationship indicated by the KT. A focus is the ‘Third Mission’ of universities, that has various, and partly contradictory meanings. A basic challenge is that the concept requires a turn from the ongoing differentiation process in higher education towards (re)-integration. This part was commissioned by OECD.


Project team

Lorenz Lassnigg, Jakob Hartl, Martin Unger, Iris Schwarzenbacher


01.2012–11.2016 (finished)


I: Stadt Wien (City of Vienna); II: OECD


WU Wien / Vienna University of Economics and Business (Michaela Trippl)

Project documentation

I: 3rd Mission Vienna (German) PDF, 4.5 MB


II: Knowledge Triangle PDF, 891 KB