Towards the 4th generation university: a collaboration between Elsevier and TU Eindhoven

Max Dumoulin, Dmitrii Malkov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The report is the result of a one-year collaboration with Technical University Eindhoven (TU/e) whose President Robert-Jan Smits (RJS) was directly involved throughout. Following a meeting last year with Kumsal and Michiel Kolman, he asked if we could help him with the challenge that established university rankings do not measure what TU/e is trying to do. TU/e’s objectives are summarised by the concept of the 4th Generation University which means that universities should drive economic growth and societal impact locally, working systematically with a broad range of stakeholders such as industry, local government and the public. Measuring success requires innovative indicators, which we co-designed and calculated in the attached report.

    The panel discussion in Bremen included myself, RJS, the MD of Germany’s Technical Universities (TU9), the VP of an association of 50+ European technical universities (CESAER) and the European Innovation Council. While the label ‘4th Generation University’ – which emerged from academia – was not widely known, the concepts that it described resonated strongly with co-panellists and attendees alike.

    An important intangible benefit accrues from us being positioned as a Thought Leader alongside RJS who - as the architect of Plan S - is not historically known as an Elsevier supporter. Yet he now publicly compliments and thanks us. He has pledged to help us recruit more like-minded institutions, and will co-present with us at more events this year. All this helps with our objective to be a Trusted Partner of the Academic & Government community.

    Next steps are to engage with other universities for whom the 4th Generation University concept resonates – both individually, and via networks like TU9 and CESAER. There are commercial opportunities for ALF to play a certification role as well as to use the concept to develop contributory datasets. We will be continuing to promote the project with RJS, and will invite others to participate at a series of upcoming events, such as the Science Business conference in Brussels in June.

    Original languageAmerican English
    StatePublished - Apr 23 2024


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