University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces

European Regions to Share Knowledge in Finland

- 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.

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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
  2. Combined Universities in Cornwall, UK
  3. Municipality of Skellefteå, Sweden
  4. Regional Council of Västerbotten, Sweden
  5. Akademi Norr, Sweden
  6. City of Seinäjoki, Finland
  7. University Consortium Seinäjoki/Tampere, Finland
  8. Frami Ltd, Finland
  9. University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic
  10. South Bohemia Regional Authority, Czech Republic
  11. Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, Bulgaria
  12. Sofia University, Bulgaria
  13. University of Debrecen, Hungary
  14. Hajdú-Bihar County Council, Hungary
  15. UHI, University of the Highlands and Islands

© Cornwall Council 2010

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