Regional Digital Resilience and the 4Helix Model: The Higher Education Institutions’ Case in Romania

Adriana Grigorescu*, Cristina Lincaru, Olaf Sigurjonsson, Speranța Pîrciog

*Corresponding author for this work

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Against the background of multiple and simultaneous global socio-economic shocks, coupled with digital transformation and the green transition, regional resilience triggers new structural transformations. The more complex processes that need to be addressed now require the usage of complex integrated tools. The novelty of the integrated approach is the combination of the models and the synthetic spatial–temporal picture offered. The quadruple helix, or 4Helix, model puts Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) at the nexus of generating regional digital resilience. We posit a new mindset and behavior of human capital to reinforce innovation and knowledge production and transfer. We explore, using the Romanian national case, to what degree the spatial 4Helix model generates regional digital resilience as a positive externality of adoption of the ‘new normal’ digital education. We analyze this process in three steps. (1) We determine the spatial distribution of HEIs at the Romanian county level (NUTS3). (2) We calculate the regional static and dynamic resilience indexes (at NUTS2) as the outcome of the method for multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) by each region’s digital economy as well as individual and regional wealth, social digital use and social digital connectivity dimensions. (3) Lastly, we provide the result of overlaid maps and radar charts (using HEIs number and spatial coverage and each region’s static and dynamic digital resilience). These three classes of digital resilience models of 4Helix by region indicate a generalized failure in adopting digital education in Romania. The study contributes by adding a powerful tool to explore the complex processes or phenomena and generating an integrated perspective using a pre-existing framework. In doing so, it enables researchers to better understand and address society’s needs, co-create knowledge and solutions together with the end-users, maximize the impact of these solutions, optimize resources usage, and increase the transparency and accountability of the decision-making processes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)928-958
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Quadruple helix
  • Higher education institutions
  • Static and dynamic digital resilience
  • Regional studies
  • Human capital
  • Digital education
  • Digital economy
  • Connectivity

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