The relevance of the study is due to the fact that the current economic state of the Russian regions is characterized by a number of problems of innovation and technological development and their significant differentiation. The most important question is who and what should become the driving force for the development of regions. The concept of the «triple helix» offers modern mechanisms of interaction between the state, business and universities as a driving force. At the same time, universities begin to play an increasingly important role in innovation processes, and their status and influence as subjects of socio-economic development are growing. In this paper, the entrepreneurial university is characterized as a key subject of the «triple helix» model, which plays a central role in the formation of the scientific and technical potential of the regions and in the transition of the subjects of the Russian Federation to innovative development. Recognizing this fact state forms the Russian system of higher education on new principles singling out groups of status universities and additionally financing them. This should contribute to the formation of a modern knowledge space in regions of different types that have different scientific and technical potentials, and on this basis to ensure regional development. The purpose of this article is to evaluate the interrelationships between the socio-economic development of regions (reflected by the GRP per capita indicator) and their scientific and technical potential characterizing the state of the knowledge (scientific and educational) space, the most important subjects of which are universities. As a result of the study, groups of regions are distinguished those are similar in terms of socio-economic development and the state of scientific and technical potential, as well as the role of universities in the formation of their knowledge space.