The Third Mission is one of the institutional mission of universities and includes all the activities through which universities interact directly with society, alongside the traditional missions of teaching, the first mission, which is based on interaction with students, and research, the second mission, which interacts mainly with the scientific community.
With the Third Mission, universities come into direct contact with subjects and social groups outside the academic world, with interactions that depend on the disciplinary areas of the university.
The Third Mission can be divided into two main areas:
Economic valorisation of knowledge
The Third Mission aims to promote economic growth through the transformation of knowledge produced by research into knowledge useful for productive purposes. This includes the management of intellectual property (patents), the creation of companies (spin-offs), third-party research, in particular resulting from research-industry relations, and the management of intermediation and support structures, generally on a territorial scale (placement and technology transfer activities).
Cultural and social activities
In this case, public activities are produced to increase the well-being of society.
These activities may have a cultural content
- cultural: cultural events and assets, management of museums, archaeological digs, science dissemination, musical activities
- social: public health, activities for the benefit of the community, technical/professional advice provided in teams
- educational: adult education, life-long learning, continuous training
- civil: public debates and controversies, scientific expertise