HSRC researchers awarded prestigious Elsevier trophy

An article, with Glenda Kruss of the HSRC as the main author, has been selected from thousands of recently published articles to be awarded the prestigious Elsevier Atlas trophy. Elsevier is a world-leading publisher and provider of information solutions for science, health and technology professionals.

Each month, an external advisory board selects a single Atlas article from published research from across Elsevier’s 1 800 journals. The article, Higher education and economic development: the importance of building technological capabilities, was written by Kruss; Dr Simon McGrath, Professor of International Education and Development, University of Nottingham, and Drs Il-haam Petersen and Michael Gastrow of the HSRC.

According to the award letter, Atlas articles showcase research that can (or already has) significantly impact people’s lives around the world. It is hoped that bringing wider attention to this research will go some way to ensuring its successful implementation.

Winning articles are hosted prominently on Elsevier.com, which is visited by almost three million people each month. The article by Kruss et al. is also freely available on ScienceDirect, Elsevier’s full-text article database, to ensure it is accessible to all.
The abstract to the article says that higher education and development have not been priorities of global policy or research funding in recent decades. Yet, since the millennium, Southern governments have become believers in the global knowledge economy, and higher education enrolment growth has been phenomenal. The article offers an original account of how higher education institutions contribute to economic development by drawing on evolutionary economics and the national innovation systems approach.

This offers distinct advantages in conceptualising higher education’s developmental role, through its stress on the importance of education, skills,  work, innovation and production for economic development. Using these concepts, the authors examine how well South African higher education is positioned to contribute to economic development through a consideration of two case studies.

The research was conducted under the Labour Market Intelligence Partnership, a research consortium led by the HSRC and funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training. The authors acknowledge the assistance of the large team of researchers that participated in the data-gathering and analysis process, as well as all those who participated in the case studies.