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 in the Västerbotten region of northern Sweden, which focussed on the factors affecting learning in remote geographical areas.
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.
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.”