University delegates head to Cornwall to mark end of three year project
Representatives from the University of the Highlands and Islands will join delegates from across Europe in Cornwall this week for the closing conference of the UNICREDS (University Collaboration in Regional Development Spaces) project. The event, taking place on Thursday (25 October), will mark 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 will also officially launch the project’s final report of findings and recommendations.
The event will be a 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 will include presentations from project partners regarding new initiatives that have been established based on learning from the UNICREDS project and evidence of how the project findings are already influencing regional policy.
Linda Stewart, Head of European Development, University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “It has been fascinating to follow the UNICREDS project over the last three years as it has 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, added: “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.
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