Impact of Universities’ Third Mission to Dissemination and Integration of Scientific Knowledge in Study Process in Universities

Marija Stonkienė, Renata Matkevičienė


The paper discusses the impact of development of knowledge economy to the universities’ activities, suggesting that providing the status of the product to the knowledge as the main field of activities of universities change not only the operating conditions of universities, but at the same time stress the meaningful contribution of universities to economic growth and social development. Changing conditions for delivery of universities’ practices encourage universities to become a part of a knowledge network as innovation agents to enhance cooperation with industry. Declining public resources, growing competition in the dissemination of knowledge in the scientific field stimulate universities’ entrepreneurship, application of their performance and results. All this justifies the idea of transformation of universities’ mission: from traditional universities’ functions, such as delivery of academic studies and scientific research, to dissemination of scientific knowledge, a traditional dissemination of scientific knowledge changes has been supplemented by application of scientific knowledge in collaboration with industry or for wellbeing of society. Contemporary changes taking place in universities consolidate the formation of the third mission of universities. The third mission of universities is based on the concept of an entrepreneurial university and the prominence of provided practical benefits of the universities’ activities. According to a theoretical approach, the third mission of universities is understood through the changes in the higher education systems associated with the fact that the traditional European higher education as a part of state-led social policy with a focus on meeting the social, cultural needs of society, creation of public resources changes because of growing importance of market ideology, neoliberalism, that reasons implementation of new public management in higher education. New public management stresses changing performance of universities toward practical applicability of scientific knowledge and meeting not only social needs of society, but market needs, as well.
The article states that in 2009, when reform of Lithuanian national system of higher education made some corrections in the system of higher education funding, universities spurring competition created conditions for entrepreneurial universities. Changes in the system of higher education also made an impact to requirements of application of scientific results in study process, as well as meeting the needs and integration of various stakeholders into universities’ activities.
The aim of the present research is to assess whether the reform of Lithuanian national higher education that started in 2009 had a mission to stress practical application of scientific knowledge, response to the market needs, and that are declared in official documents are integrated into requirements for national study programs (for preparation of documentation of newly created study programs and for the valuation of study programs). The task of the research is to analyse changes in national requirements and their correspondence with the main goals of reform of national higher education system.
Regulatory documents were analyzed using qualitative content analysis and comparative methods. It was found that after 2009 Lithuanian national higher education reforms in the updated regulatory requirements for study programs there was manifested the requirement to provide arguments that showed accordance of study program with public interest and the employers’ needs. The research showed an increase of importance in focus on practical adaptability after 2009 national higher education reforms: in regulatory documents that existed till 2009 there were no intentions of integration of study process with stakeholders’ involvement that led toward meeting the needs of labor market and society. The study also revealed that in Lithuanian regulatory requirements for study programs – regulatory documents for proposal of newly developed study programs and in criteria for evaluation and accreditation of study programs – there has already been implemented a requirement of fulfilling practical applicability of the results and meeting the needs of employers that goes in a line with the third mission of universities stressing the practical benefit aspect of study programs. In the regulatory requirements for evaluation and accreditation of study programs, there are more substantially presented requirements for fulfilling practical applicability of study results in relation with needs of labor market and this requirement goes with a highlight of the role of the social partners in development and implementation of study program.


university; dissemination of scientific knowledge; universities’ third mission; national reform of higher education in 2009; studies; study programs; regulation

Full Text:

PDF (Lietuvių)



  • There are currently no refbacks.

"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236