Keywords: University; Third Mission; Indicators; Society.
The paper looks at the Third Mission of the University, which is presently added to the two traditional Humboldtian missions of production and transmission of knowledge, as part of the general trend, developed in the last decades, of a growing university-society relation. Different practical definitions of the Third Mission are analyzed, emphasizing that the TM cannot be identified only with the Technology Transfer and Innovation activities. Rather, it also encompasses activities not necessarily market-mediated, like Continuing Education and the set of initiatives summarized under the term of 'Social Engagement'. The paper also deals with the issue of indicators to be used for the evaluation of TM providing some results of a European research aimed at defining a metric for the development of Third Mission indicators.