Nordic Umbrella Agencies for Higher Education and Research Cooperation: Region-building and Market-making

Higher Education
Que Anh Dang
University of Bristol
Que Anh Dang
University of Bristol

Building on the success of regional integration in finance, energy, health, labour, agriculture, social welfare, the Nordic countries have recently taken initiatives towards constructing a Nordic model of higher education and research cooperation.

This Paper examines the processes and projects of Nordic higher education regionalism by tracing the genesis, development and roles of some key regional institutions, such as Nordic Council of Ministers for Education and Research (MR-U), Nordic funding agency – NordForsk, Nordic Master – a funding scheme for joint master’s programmes, and the Nordic Centre in Shanghai – a network of 26 Nordic universities collaborating with China. The paper asks how these intermediary ‘umbrella’ agencies actively shaped the agenda, level of expectations, interests, and behaviours of higher education institutions and states, and what outcomes they produced through developing a new governance pattern. The concept of ‘accountability communities’ (Jayasuriya, 2010) is used to explore the transformation and relocation of public policy-making authority and explain the way in which legitimacy of these agencies is created and contested in the region with the strong state. The Paper argues that legitimacy secured through accountability communities, on the one hand, facilitates new forms of region-building and market-making, and serves to rescale (reduce and increase) state’s governing capability, on the other.
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"Politics determines the process of "who gets what, when, and how"" - Harold Lasswell

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