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Barriers to innovation and sustainability at universities around the world

Avila, LV and Leal Filho, W and Brandli, L and Macgregor, CJ and Molthan-Hill, P and Ozuyar, PG and Moreira, RM (2017) Barriers to innovation and sustainability at universities around the world. Journal of Cleaner Production, 164. pp. 1268-1278. ISSN 0959-6526

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Abstract

This paper explores the link between innovation and sustainability in the context of higher education, with the purpose of investigating the fundamental barriers for innovation and sustainable development in universities around the world. The method used involves both a quantitative and a qualitative approach, gathering the views of 301 experts from 172 universities across all continents. The results show that there are similar barriers across different geographical regions that require greater support from university administrations and management. In particular, the willingness of leaders, policy makers and decision-makers to envisage a sustainable future inside universities is often missing. Yet, without the support of senior management within a university, bottom-up sustainable initiatives seem destined to fail in the longer term due to a lack of investment and administrative support. This study also identifies that in order to yield the anticipated benefits, the challenges listed should be taken seriously.

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