SIG Workshop: Exploring the impact of third mission policies and activities for research, universities, and the wider society

The workshop is hosted in collaboration with the SIG HEPP - Higher Education Policy and Practice 

: August, 29 2024

Location: AU Conference Center, Frederik Nielsens Vej 2-4, 8000 Aarhus C, Building 1427, Room 149 (M1) 

Fee: Free

Deadline for registration: August 25, 2024 


Third mission activities, where universities engage actively with society, have grown significantly in importance within today’s academic landscape. These activities encompass communication, outreach, entrepreneurship, collaboration, and innovation, enabling universities to fulfill their societal responsibilities effectively. However, their implementation also raises complex and consequential issues that warrant critical examination. This workshop aims to delve into the impact of third mission policies and activities on research, research institutions, and broader society.

By examining approaches from Europe, China, and other regions, we seek to uncover insights into how mobilizing researchers and institutions contributes to societal change amidst global challenges like geopolitical tensions, human rights issues, and environmental changes affecting international academic relations.

Key objectives

  • Investigate the current landscape of third mission policies and activities worldwide, focusing on strategies, programs, and impacts in Europe and China, particularly in communication, outreach, entrepreneurship, collaboration, and innovation.
  • Analyze how these policies and activities influence research and research institutions globally, emphasizing strategies, metrics, codes of conduct, and collaborative standards.
  • Identify best practices and lessons to shape future third mission policies, balancing academic freedom with societal engagement.
  • Explore the intricate interactions between third mission activities and universities' broader responsibilities, critically examining their impact on research performance, science-society relations, and international cooperation. 

This workshop aims to foster dialogue among academics, policymakers, and practitioners, promoting a deeper understanding of how universities can effectively navigate the challenges and opportunities posed by their third mission initiatives to contribute meaningfully to societal development. Graduate students and early-career scholars seeking to expand their knowledge and network in the field of science communication, public engagement, entrepreneurship, and innovation are also welcome participants.

Read more 

The workshop will be open to anyone interested. We anticipate attracting a diverse academic audience from all faculties, with accommodation available for up to 50 people. Additionally, there will be an option to participate via Zoom. Please contact the organizers to get the link.

Xiaomin Zhu, Associate Professor, Peking University (visiting researcher at Aarhus University from July-September 2024
Kristian H. Nielsen, Associate Professor and Head of Centre, Centre for Science Studies, Aarhus University,



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