University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces
Press Room

More than 50 representatives from across Europe met in Cornwall, UK, last week for the closing conference of the UNICREDS (University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces) project. The event, which took place on 25 October, marked the end of the three-year project, which has seen seven different EU regions collaborate to explore how universities can work with the public sector and local businesses to help boost regional economies. It also saw the official launch of the project’s final report of findings and recommendations.

The event offered the chance for those involved to discuss the final report and examine how to best disseminate the project recommendations, as well as celebrate the success of this pan-European collaboration. Highlights of the day included presentations from project partners regarding new initiatives that have been established based on learnings from the UNICREDS project and evidence of how the project findings are already influencing regional policy.

Sandra Rothwell, Head of Economic Development at Cornwall Council, comments: “It has been fascinating to follow the UNICREDS project over the last three years as it’s sought to understand the best practice for regions in developing knowledge-based economies. The final report contains many successful examples of collaboration between universities, industry and the public sector that have helped transform less developed regions.

“From these examples lessons can be drawn, principles established, and recommendations made to national and pan-European administrations. The power of these recommendations is that they are not based on a single region’s experience, but on best practice established by a number of regions throughout Europe.”

Nicolas Wallet, Project Manager for UNICREDS, adds: “UNICREDS has been an exciting and challenging project for all involved. We have learnt a huge amount through the process of collaborating with a range of different regions facing similar, but not identical, problems. If EU policy formers take just one lesson from the findings of this project it should be that if Higher Education works closely with businesses and communities, and with governments and administrations, it can not only transform regions – it can make that transformation sustainable.” 

The €2million UNICREDS project was majority funded by the EU in addition to co- financing from each of the 15 European partners and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme. All the regions involved with UNICREDS share similar characteristics relative to the rest of their countries, such as distance from major cities, population demographics, and reliance on declining traditional industries. Further information about the project and the final report are available at www.unicreds.eu.

ENDS

 For all press enquiries please contact Fresh:

Abby Richardson – 07876 378733 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Lisa Sutherland – 01872 262977 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Notes to editors:

  • UNICREDS stands for University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces.
  • UNICREDS is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme.
  • UNICREDS is a partnership of 15 partners from 7 EU regions who share the belief that decentralized universities can help transform deprived regional economies into centres of excellence in research and innovation.
  • The ‘triple helix’ model is based on a multi-sited university and its integration with the private and public sectors.
  • The aim of the UNICREDS programme is to share knowledge between the member partners, to further develop the triple helix model, and to ultimately lobby EU policy makers to adopt the model across Europe.

 

UNICREDS partners

  1. Cornwall Council, UK www.cornwall.gov.uk
  2. Combined Universities in Cornwall, UK www.cuc.ac.uk
  3. Municipality of Skellefteå, Sweden www.skelleftea.se
  4. Regional Council of Västerbotten, Sweden www.regionvasterbotten.se
  5. Akademi Norr, Sweden www.akademinorr.se
  6. City of Seinäjoki, Finland www.seinajoki.fi
  7. Frami Ltd, Finland www.frami.fi
  8. Seinäjoki Technology Centre Ltd, Finland www.stoy.fi/en
  9. University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic www.jcu.cz
  10. South Bohemia Regional Authority, Czech Republic www.kraj-jihocesky.cz
  11. Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, Bulgaria www.mrrb.government.bg
  12. Sofia University, Bulgaria www.uni-sofia.bg
  13. University of Debrecen, Hungary www.envm.unideb.hu
  14. Institutional Maintenance Centre Hajdú-Bihar, Hungary www.hbmik.hu
  15. UHI, University of the Highlands and Islands www.uhi.ac.uk

- Final conference for UNICREDS project -

Delegates from seven European regions will be meeting in Finland next week for the final working conference of the UNICREDS (University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces) project. The findings from this conference, and the rest of the three year programme, will be presented at a closing event in Cornwall, UK, in October 2012.

Taking place in the city of Seinäjoki in Finland on Tuesday 12 June, the conference will focus on how to achieve excellence in regional research and innovation, in order to drive long-term economic growth. As well as presentations from the various Finnish hosts regarding their experience, there will also be a keynote speech from Marc Botman, Head of Unit at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Regional Policy. In his speech he will be addressing the issue of ‘smart specialisation’.

Marc Botman explains: "Smart specialisation means identifying the unique characteristics and assets of each country and region, highlighting each region’s competitive advantages, and rallying regional stakeholders and resources around an excellence-driven vision of their future. These strategies are so important that they are a pre-condition for ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) funding for the period 2014-2020.”

Nicolas Wallet, Project Manager for UNICREDS, concludes: “This is our final working conference for the project. Each of the events has looked at a different element under the overarching theme of developing high value, knowledge-based economies in peripheral regions, through universities, business and the public sector working together. The findings and case studies presented at the event will feed into ‘best practice’ recommendations that will be submitted to the European Commission later this year, with the aim of helping other regions facing similar issues.”

The UNICREDS project aims to develop a transferable model for future education and regional development programmes that can be adopted by the European Commission. The €2million project is majority funded by the EU in addition to co- financing from each of the 15 European partners and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme. All the regions involved with UNICREDS share similar characteristics relative to the rest of their countries, such as distance from major cities, population demographics, and reliance on declining traditional industries.

More information is available at www.unicreds.eu.

ENDS

For all press enquiries please contact Fresh:

Abby Richardson – 07876 378733 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Lisa Sutherland – 01872 262977 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Notes to editors:

  • UNICREDS stands for University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces.
  • UNICREDS is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme.
  • UNICREDS is a partnership of 15 partners from 7 EU regions who share the belief that decentralized universities can help transform deprived regional economies into centres of excellence in research and innovation.
  • The ‘triple helix’ model is based on a multi-sited university and its integration with the private and public sectors.
  • The aim of the UNICREDS programme is to share knowledge between the member partners, to further develop the triple helix model, and to ultimately lobby EU policy makers to adopt the model across Europe.

UNICREDS partners

  1. Cornwall Council, UK www.cornwall.gov.uk
  2. Combined Universities in Cornwall, UK www.cuc.ac.uk
  3. Municipality of Skellefteå, Sweden www.skelleftea.se
  4. Regional Council of Västerbotten, Sweden www.regionvasterbotten.se
  5. Akademi Norr, Sweden www.akademinorr.se
  6. City of Seinäjoki, Finland www.seinajoki.fi
  7. University Consortium Seinäjoki/Tampere, Finland www.ucs.fi
  8. Frami Ltd, Finland www.frami.fi
  9. University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic www.jcu.cz
  10. South Bohemia Regional Authority, Czech Republic www.kraj-jihocesky.cz
  11. Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, Bulgaria www.mrrb.government.bg
  12. Sofia University, Bulgaria www.uni-sofia.bg
  13. University of Debrecen, Hungary www.envm.unideb.hu
  14. Hajdú-Bihar County Council, Hungary www.hbmo.hu
  15. UHI, University of the Highlands and Islands www.uhi.ac.uk

UNICREDS took its experience and expertise to the Czech Republic last week, where the seven partner regions met to discuss how best to nurture an innovative business culture. The conference was part of the UNICREDS (University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces) project.

Taking place at České Budějovice in the Czech Republic on Tuesday 17 January 2012, the conference, hosted by the University of South Bohemia and run by the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland, brought together delegates from across Europe. As well as looking at how education establishments can help nurture an innovative business culture, delegates also debated how to reach isolated groups.

A focal point of the event were the keynote speeches from Christian Saublens, Executive Manager of EURADA (European Association of Development Agencies), and Frank Rennie, Professor of Sustainable Development and Head of Research and Post-Graduate Development at Lews Castle College, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Christian Saublens commented: "At this time more than ever, businesses need to innovate to keep their competitive edge. To do this, they have either to create and exploit their own new ideas or absorb and apply ideas created elsewhere and integrate them into their business. This conference is an ideal opportunity to try to identify and understand those activities and initiatives that are helping to nurture an innovative business culture.” 

Nicolas Wallet, Project Manager for UNICREDS, commented: “This is our fourth conference. Each of the events has looked at a different element under the overarching theme of developing high value, knowledge-based economies in peripheral regions, through partnerships between universities, business and the public sector. The findings and case studies presented at the event will feed into ‘best practice’ recommendations that will be submitted to the European Commission later this year, with the aim of helping other regions facing similar issues.”

 The event is part of the €2million UNICREDS project which aims to develop a transferable model for future education and regional development programmes that can be adopted by the European Commission. The UNICREDS project is majority funded by the EU in addition to co- financing from each of the 15 European partners and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme. All the regions involved with UNICREDS share similar characteristics relative to the rest of their countries, such as distance from major cities, population demographics, and reliance on declining traditional industries.

More information is available at www.unicreds.eu.

ENDS

For all press enquiries please contact Fresh:

Abby Richardson – 07876 378733 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Lisa Sutherland – 01872 262977 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Notes to editors:

  • UNICREDS stands for University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces.
  • UNICREDS is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme.
  • UNICREDS is a partnership of 15 partners from 7 EU regions who share the belief that decentralized universities can help transform deprived regional economies into centres of excellence in research and innovation.
  • The ‘triple helix’ model is based on a multi-sited university and its integration with the private and public sectors.
  • The aim of the UNICREDS programme is to share knowledge between the member partners, to further develop the triple helix model, and to ultimately lobby EU policy makers to adopt the model across Europe.
  • Images from the event are available in the photo gallery.

 

UNICREDS partners

  1. Cornwall Council, UK www.cornwall.gov.uk
  2. Combined Universities in Cornwall, UK www.cuc.ac.uk
  3. Municipality of Skellefteå, Sweden www.skelleftea.se
  4. Regional Council of Västerbotten, Sweden www.regionvasterbotten.se
  5. Akademi Norr, Sweden www.akademinorr.se
  6. City of Seinäjoki, Finland www.seinajoki.fi
  7. University Consortium Seinäjoki/Tampere, Finland www.ucs.fi
  8. Seinäjoki Technology Centre Ltd, Finland www.stoy.fi/en
  9. University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic www.jcu.cz
  10. South Bohemia Regional Authority, Czech Republic www.kraj-jihocesky.cz
  11. Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, Bulgaria www.mrrb.government.bg
  12. Sofia University, Bulgaria www.uni-sofia.bg
  13. University of Debrecen, Hungary www.envm.unideb.hu
  14. Hajdú-Bihar County Council, Hungary www.hbmo.hu
  15. UHI, University of the Highlands and Islands www.uhi.ac.uk

The third UNICREDS (University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces) conference recently took place in Scotland to discuss how universities can benefit rural communities.

Located in the beautiful surroundings at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Skye, the conference on 7 June brought together delegates from six European countries to debate and question the role of universities in rural communities, with particular focus on how universities can drive smart specialisation in regional development and boost the local economy.

Norman Sharp OBE, the former director of higher education quality assurance agency QAA Scotland, delivered the keynote speech, reflecting on the direct and indirect ways in which a university can provide the lifeblood of development for rural communities and economies. He said: “This important conference provides a valuable opportunity for experts from across Europe to consider the potentially vital role that universities have in supporting rural development.”

The conference was led by the Combined Universities in Cornwall. As well as keynote speeches and presentations on best practice case studies from Cornwall and the Czech Republic, the event also included a panel debate involving speakers from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, The Highland Council and UHI principal and vice-chancellor James Fraser, amongst others. 

Nicolas Wallet, Project Manager for UNICREDS, comments: “This conference marks the halfway point for the three-year UNICREDS project and with each event that takes place we collate more ‘best practice’ experiences that will inform policy recommendations to help other regions facing similar issues.”

All the regions involved with UNICREDS share similar characteristics, such as distance from major cities, population demographics, and reliance on declining traditional industries. UNICREDS partners share real life experiences and knowledge of how the challenges of an underperforming economy can be overcome and how deprived or peripheral regions can be transformed into centres of excellence in research and innovation. The project includes partners at different stages of the journey towards solving these problems.

This is the third UNICREDS conference and the findings and case studies presented at the event will feed into policy recommendations that will be submitted to the European Commission. Each of the conferences has looked at a different element under the overarching theme of developing high value, knowledge-based economies in peripheral regions, through partnerships between universities, business and the public sector.

UNICREDS is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund along with each of the 15 partners from Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary and the UK. It is made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme.

For all press enquiries please contact Fresh:

Abby Richardson – 07876 378733 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Matt Sutherland – 01872 262977 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Film footage available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/UNICREDSEU

Notes to editors:

  • UNICREDS stands for University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces.
  • UNICREDS is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme.
  • UNICREDS is a partnership of 15 partners from 7 EU regions who share the belief that decentralized universities can help transform deprived regional economies into centres of excellence in research and innovation.
  • The ‘triple helix’ model is based on a multi-sited university and its integration with the private and public sectors.
  • The aim of the UNICREDS programme is to share knowledge between the member partners, to further develop the triple helix model, and to ultimately lobby EU policy makers to adopt the model across Europe.
  • Country-specific versions and translations of this press release will be available in the document library
  • UNICREDS logos and brand guidelines are available in the document library
  • Additional images of the conference are available in the photo gallery

UNICREDS Project Holds Conference in Bulgaria

The European UNICREDS project has taken a further step forward this week with a successful key conference looking at how different models of higher education can benefit regional economic development.

The first UNICREDS conference of 2011 took place in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, and brought together representatives from across Europe. The event held on 18-19 January, examined how partnerships between universities and other further and higher education institutions, local learning centres and regional agencies can help improve the economies of isolated, failing or resource-poor regions.

UNICREDS is a €2million project majority funded by the EU in addition to co-financing from each of the 15 partners from Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary and the UK. All the regions involved with UNICREDS share similar characteristics relative to the rest of their countries, such as distance from major cities, population demographics, and reliance on declining traditional industries. UNICREDS partners share real life experiences and knowledge of how the challenges of an underperforming economy can be overcome and how deprived or peripheral regions can be transformed into centres of excellence in research and innovation. The project includes partners at different stages of the journey towards solving these problems.Keynote_speaker_Johan_Sterte_at_UNICREDS_conference_in_Sofia_Bulgaria

A leading Swedish academic on the topic of educational and business partnerships is Johan Sterte, Vice-Chancellor of Luleå University of Technology. He spoke at the event about his first-hand experience of a partnership between a university, the municipalities and the business world in the north part of Sweden. He said:

It is of great value that regions with similar problems and possibilities work together to identify problems and to find solutions that will promote regional development. We all have a lot to learn from each other. "This conference is an important part of this process. It will give ample opportunities both for sharing experiences and for discussion.”

One of the key-note speakers at the event, was Nicolas Wallet, Project Manager for UNICREDS. He said:

One of the key challenges facing universities today is coming to terms with their changing role in society.  Universities, as major creators of scientific and technical knowledge, must be more deeply involved in the region they operate  and develop a sense of awareness about, and responsibility for, contributing with real and novel solutions to real, local problems.

By talking to local companies, a university can develop courses that give students the skills that are needed on the job – creating employable graduates and providing industry with the competence to move forward and to grow, generating additional jobs in the longer term. The leadership of public authority is also needed, and could incentivise universities to make regional development an attractive part of their central business, such as widening access to higher education or engaging with SMEs.

UNICREDS is challenging the supremacy of the traditional university model and looking into the potential benefits that multi-university campuses offer - where several different universities work in partnership, pooling resources to reach new types of student and to develop collaborative research centres. Swedish examples prove that such partnerships are successful in gathering the critical mass of funds to go forward with research and innovation that ultimately benefits a region’s economic development."

The overall aim of UNICREDS is to understand the role universities play in economic development alongside the traditional role of education and degree supply. It examines the ‘triple helix’ approach to partnerships between universities, business and the public sector, and explores current and new ways of collaborating with a view to aiding knowledge transfer and building understanding of how universities can influence the economic development of underperforming regions. UNICREDS is ultimately looking to develop a transferable model for future education and regional development programmes that can be adopted by the European Commission.

The findings from the Sofia conference and the related research are expected to be delivered in June this year when a comprehensive report will be delivered to the UNICREDS team as part of the conference being held in Scotland, along with best practice findings and policy recommendations. These will be added to the findings from the other five conferences taking place over the three year lifespan of the project.

UNICREDS is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund along with each of the 15 partners and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme.

More information is available at www.unicreds.eu.

ENDS

For all press enquiries please contact Fresh:

Abby Richardson – 07876 378733 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Matt Sutherland – 01872 262977 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Photo caption: Professor Johan Sterte, Vice-Chancellor of Luleå University of Technology, addresses delegates at the UNICREDS conference in Sofia, Bulgaria

Film footage available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8RE2aCL3R8

Notes to editors:

  • UNICREDS stands for University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces.
  • UNICREDS is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme.
  • UNICREDS is a partnership of 15 partners from 7 EU regions who share the belief that decentralized universities can help transform deprived regional economies into centres of excellence in research and innovation.
  • The ‘triple helix’ model is based on a multi-sited university and its integration with the private and public sectors.
  • The aim of the UNICREDS programme is to share knowledge between the member partners, to further develop the triple helix model, and to ultimately lobby EU policy makers to adopt the model across Europe.
  • Country-specific versions and translations of this press release will be available in the document library
  • UNICREDS logos and brand guidelines are available in the document library
  • Additional images of the conference are available in the photo gallery

 

UNICREDS Project holds first conference in Sweden.

A contingent from Cornwall visited a remote region of Sweden recently for the first conference of UNICREDS - a European project led by Cornwall Council looking at how different models of higher education can benefit regional economic development.

More than 40 delegates attended the event which focussed on the factors affecting learning in remote geographical areas. The theme was: geographical and community ‘fit’ - design of a decentralised learning model to meet specific physical and social characteristics of failing regional economies in peripheral areas. It was held in Skellefteå in the Västerbotten region of Northern Sweden, a remote and sparsely populated region with a population of just 4.7 per km² (as a comparison, Cornwall has 149.1 people per km²).

Discussions at the conference considered the proactive attitude of universities towards initiating partnerships with business and the public sector and the need for support from public authorities for universities in accomplishing regional economic development.

Peter Baur

Peter Baur, Deputy Head of Unit and Directorate General for Education and Culture at the European Commission was the keynote speaker at the Skellefteå conference. Talking about the importance of cooperation between higher education, business and the public sector for growth, he said: “Bringing the worlds of education and work closer together, working in partnership, is not an option.  It is a must.  Co-operation has to be based on mutual respect and has to acknowledge the different roles and responsibilities of the respective actors.”

The two day conference was the first in a series of five to be held across Europe, each of which is the final stage in five separate pieces of research work on specific themes done by the UNICREDS partners and involving local authorities and universities.

Talking about the importance for Cornwall of this first UNICREDS conference, Carolyn Rule, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration at Cornwall Council, said: “Increasingly in these times of economic instability, Europe is looking to the private sector to take a key transformational role in improving the economy. In a period of restricted public spending, it will be important that the public sector is able to support entrepreneurs in their challenge to regenerate the economy, and high skilled staff will be a vital element of this. Universities and local authorities working together to provide education and skills training and graduate and business start-up, support and growth programmes could provide a step change in economic growth.”

Nigel Hewitt, Combined Universities in Cornwall Coordinator, who attended on behalf of the CUC partnership, said: “One of the themes that came out strongly was that regions benefit most when their higher education provision grows out of and remains in touch with the local geography and culture. Speaking about our own experiences, we were able to highlight the way that, for example, the expertise we are developing in Cornwall in marine renewable energy draws on the engineering expertise that stems from our mining heritage, coupled with our stunning Atlantic Coastline. Similarly, the growth of art, design, media and performance within the CUC partnership is rooted in and perpetuates Cornwall’s renowned artistic and cultural heritage.”

UNICREDS is a €2million project majority funded by the EU in addition to co-financing from each of the 15 partners from Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary and the UK. All the regions involved with UNICREDS share similar characteristics relative to the rest of their countries, such as distance from major cities, population demographics, and reliance on declining traditional industries. People living in these areas can find access to traditional university education difficult for geographic, financial, or social reasons. UNICREDS partners share real life experiences and knowledge of how such challenges can be overcome and how deprived or peripheral regions can be transformed into centres of excellence in research and innovation.

Anders NorbergThe overall aim of UNICREDS is to understand the role universities play in economic development alongside the traditional role of education and degree supply. It examines the ‘triple helix’ approach to partnerships between universities, business and the public sector, and explores current and new ways of collaborating with a view to aiding knowledge transfer and building understanding of how universities can influence the economic development of underperforming regions. UNICREDS is ultimately looking to develop a transferable model for future education and regional development programmes that can be adopted by the European Commission.

The findings from the Skellefteå conference and the related research are expected to be delivered in September when a comprehensive report will be delivered to the UNICREDS team in Cornwall by Swedish partner, Akademi Norr, along with best practice findings and policy recommendations. These will be added to the findings from the next four conferences taking place over the three year lifespan of the project.

UNICREDS is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund along with each of the 15 partners and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme.
ENDS

Press enquiries: Lisa Sutherland, Fresh: 01872 262977 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Notes to editors:

  • UNICREDS stands for University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces.
  • UNICREDS is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme.
  • UNICREDS is a partnership of 15 partners from 7 EU regions who share the belief that decentralized universities can help transform deprived regional economies into centres of excellence in research and innovation.
  • The ‘triple helix’ model is based on a multi-sited university and its integration with the private and public sectors.
  • The aim of the UNICREDS programme is to share knowledge between the member partners, to further develop the triple helix model, and to ultimately lobby EU policy makers to adopt the model across Europe.
  • Country-specific versions and translations of this press release are available in the document library
  • UNICREDS logos and brand guidelines are available in the document library
  • Additional images of the conference are available in the photo gallery

Official launch of UNICREDS, University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces

Today saw the official launch of UNICREDS, a €2million project looking at how different models of higher education (such as Combined Universities in Cornwall) can benefit regional economic development. Cornwall Council is leading the programme, which is the largest of its type to be run by the Council. UNICREDS is majority funded by the EU in addition to co-financing from each of the 15 partners from countries including Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Hungary.

© Cornwall Council 2010
Email: info@unicreds.eu

interreg-ivc erdf