This paper highlights the growing importance of interdisciplinary research at the intersection between higher education, creative industries and growth of regional creative economies. The paper not only focuses specifically on the UK context but also encompasses issues of further international interest and debate. It undertakes a review of existing literature on the cultural role of higher education institutions (HEIs) and points to recent research on HEIs' increasing importance for embedding creative graduates into a region. We not only illustrate how this area of research aligns with the concepts of the '€˜creative city'€™ and the €˜'creative class'€™ but also consider how talent attraction and retention processes include HEIs and art schools as part of a richer understanding of the creative economy as a contextualised production system. Furthermore, we investigate the role of HEIs as so-called â€˜third spacesâ€™ for creative knowledge transfer, which in recent years has become a popular cultural and higher education strategy to address the difficulties of feeding creative and cultural knowledge into the wider economy. The paper concludes by highlighting future avenues for cross-disciplinary research in three areas: communities of practice, local stakeholder management and a shared community agenda, to inform further policy and development in this area.