It Takes Two to Tango: Modalities and benefits of the collaboration between universities and local governments


By Kelly Henao – Columbus Association,  Daniel Samoilovich – Columbus Association, Sara Hoeflich – United Cities and Local Governments.

This article stresses the main results of a study on the modalities and benefits of collaboration between universities and local governments. It has been prepared in the context of the Erasmus + CityLab project: Engaging Students with Sustainable Cities in Latin America which aims to stimulate the development of active pedagogies in undergraduate and postgraduate courses promoting collaborative work of students with representatives of local governments, based on a problem-based teaching methodologies. But, the object of this study goes beyond the pedagogical task of the universities.

It aims to understand the conditions in which this collaboration is developed and its impact. A questionnaire was applied to 80 institutions in Latin America (most of them) and Europe. The most interesting responses were selected to develop 20 in-depth interviews with university representatives. Then, a comparative analysis was carried out to better understand the main dimensions of the collaboration.

The small size of the sample does not allow it to be representative. However, it allows to stress some aspects that foster successful collaborations, since there is a common pattern in several of the analyzed cases. At the same time, the heterogeneity of cases and their contexts help to understand the factors of success and the obstacles of collaboration. It is not intended, in any way, to offer a model, but to present some hypotheses and points of reflection that might help city and university leaders to improve their current collaboration.

This reflection is based mainly on the perception of the universities and the perspectives from the academy, derived from the surveys and interviews developed with a group of them and will serve as the basis for a later work with local governments.

Read the full article here.