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Organising an early phase of academic engagement: a case study of interactions between engineering and equestrian sports

Journal article
Authors Ida Hermansson
Maureen McKelvey
Olof Zaring
Published in Innovation: Organization & Management
ISSN 1447-9338
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE)
Department of Economy and Society
Language en
Keywords University-industry interaction, academic engagement, societal impact, engineering, equestrian sport
Subject categories Business Administration


This paper explores the underlying processes of initiating academic engagement, seen from the university perspective. We do so through a longitudinal case study, of the university, Chalmers, and specifically around the engineering subjects, and the development of such relationships with a sector with few such traditions, namely equestrian sports. In terms of how the chosen university has worked to initiate academic engagement, we find, in contrast to existing literature, how, what we call researcher-teachers, primarily used students to engage with a variety of external organisations, rather than relying on research excellence. University management offered support and made small investments. In terms of perceived benefits, the researcher-teachers, university managers and students all stressed positive reputational benefits, especially attracting female students into engineering and diffusing engineering knowledge in society. Acknowledging the limitations of our study, three propositions for future research are to conceptualise the university as providing knowledge-intensive services, to explore the potential involvement of university management, and to articulate different phases of academic engagement.

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