In all advanced economies, the role of universities in the development of human capital as well as in knowledge production has become increasingly crucial. As a consequence, research centres specialized on higher education have been established in several countries.
In Italy, on the other hand, comparative research and systematic data collection in this field have so far been carried on by either public agencies or individual scholars working independently and in uncoordinated ways. Furthermore, the plurality of disciplinary approaches to these issues (by economists, sociologists, political scientists, business scholars) has led to underestimate the relations between the several types of change in the higher education area.
What was lacking, up to now, was a multi-disciplinary, national-scale research centre that could provide comparative data and analyses to policy-makers, as well as be a partner in international networks on higher education. The establishment of UNIRES aims at filling this gap.