Valorisation is at the centre of many debates on the future of academic research. But valorisation has largely become narrowly understood in terms of universities’ economic contributions through patenting, licensing, spin-off formation and technology transfer. This emergent restrictive definition of universities’ societal impacts is a worrying development, overlooking the potential of universities’ knowledge in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS). Our hypothesis is that HASS disciplines’ disadvantage compared to the hard sciences (lesser policy attention and funding for commercialisation) arises because HASS stakeholders are not sufficiently salient as stakeholders to universi- ties. Using case studies of three policy experiments, we argue that universities’ respon- siveness to stakeholders does not evolve simply and functionally but in response to the networks of relationships in which they are situated. This has important implications for how stakeholder research is used in higher education research, and for the design and implementation of policies to improve universities’ societal contributions.
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