University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces

Delegates Head to UK to Mark End of 3 Year Project

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


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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. Frami Ltd, Finland
  8. Seinäjoki Technology Centre 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. Institutional Maintenance Centre Hajdú-Bihar, Hungary
  15. UHI, University of the Highlands and Islands

© Cornwall Council 2010

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