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Press release

Understanding the 4th Generation University

Amsterdam | April 23, 2024

Elsevier and Eindhoven University of Technology Collaborate to Explore the Future of Higher Education

Elsevier, a global leader in research information and analytics, and Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e),opens in new tab/window today announce the results of their collaboration to explore the emerging concept of a ‘4th generation university’: global universities that are fully integrated in their local innovation ecosystem with the aim of tackling worldwide societal challenges and driving regional economic growth.

An in-depth report examining the transformative role of TU/e as 4th generation university is now available: ‘Towards the 4th generation university: The transformative role of TU/e in delivering innovation and impact in the Eindhoven region’.

Expectations regarding how universities should create value for society are evolving in response to changing societal needs and political priorities. In recent decades, the emphasis has been on valorization in addition to education and research. However, worldwide developments are leading universities to adapt their strategies to take on an intensified role, in particular the development of solutions to societal challenges in close collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders in an open innovation ecosystem. Universities are therefore considering adopting a new paradigm: the 4th generation university.

In this context, Elsevier and TU/e have thoroughly explored ways to translate the concept of the 4th generation university into measurable indicators, in order to further the concept, to help universities benchmark themselves against like-minded institutions and to advance their strategic development.

The report analyses TU/e’s influence on its local community, notably within the Brainport region.opens in new tab/window In this region, multinational corporations such as ASMLopens in new tab/window, NXPopens in new tab/window and Philipsopens in new tab/window engage with knowledge organizations and thousands of companies in the innovation ecosystem to co-create world-leading solutions. It examines how TU/e engages in research initiatives in partnership with these stakeholders. It also explores collaborations with emerging start-ups and scale-ups like Smart Photonicsopens in new tab/window.

Judy Verses, President of Academic & Government, Elsevier, said: “In today's era of rapid change, the role of universities has never been more critical. Universities like TU/e transcend traditional boundaries, through initiatives that bridge academia, industry and government. Together with TU/e, we will explore how fourth-generation universities can foster collaboration, drive innovation and create positive societal change."

Robert-Jan Smits, President of TU/e, said: “We are very excited to engage in this collaboration with Elsevier to present TU/e as an example of the fourth-generation university and learn from other universities as they advance in their regional innovation ecosystems. Based on Elsevier’s world-leading experience in translating metrics into meaningful insights, a sound foundation is laid to explore the fourth-generation university.”

The report leverages Elsevier’s data and analytics, including the examination of geographical collaborators and recently developed key technology classifications, designed to aid in the formulation of the Netherlands national technology strategy.

As Elsevier and TU/e embark on this collaboration, other interested universities can contact Max Dumoulinopens in new tab/window to join them in sharing best practices and helping to understand the 4th generation university.

About Elsevier

As a global leader in scientific information and analytics, Elsevier helps researchers and healthcare professionals advance science and improve health outcomes for the benefit of society. We do this by facilitating insights and critical decision-making with innovative solutions based on trusted, evidence-based content and advanced AI-enabled digital technologies.

We have supported the work of our research and healthcare communities for more than 140 years. Our 9,500 employees around the world, including 2,500 technologists, are dedicated to supporting researchers, librarians, academic leaders, funders, governments, R&D-intensive companies, doctors, nurses, future healthcare professionals and educators in their critical work. Our 2,900 scientific journals and iconic reference books include the foremost titles in their fields, including Cell Press, The Lancet and Gray’s Anatomy.

Together with the Elsevier Foundationopens in new tab/window, we work in partnership with the communities we serve to advance inclusion and diversity in science, research and healthcare in developing countries and around the world.

Elsevier is part of RELXopens in new tab/window, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. For more information on our work, digital solutions and content, visit


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David Tucker

Director of Research Communications

E-mail David Tucker