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01.05.07
Sweden follows Cornwall's example

Ian Tunbridge, CUC Executive Director, and the Fyra Norra group from SwedenA group of delegates from the northern districts of Sweden recently travelled over 1,100 miles to the Tremough campus in Penryn to discover more about the success of the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) initiative.

The nine visitors represented a number of Swedish municipalities who are interested in how Cornwall has used Objective One investment to improve Higher Education and support the transformation of the economy. Until recently separate projects aimed at individual HE institutions in Sweden had been undertaken but often lacked impetus and failed to produce positive results. Their latest project, named Fyra Norra, aims to provide a foundation for greater collaboration between the regions to overcome this problem.

Anders Norberg, Head of Education Development at the Skellefteå Council, arranged the trip and explains their vision: "Our region must create a co-operative network for Higher Education of the best quality, which can inspire and guide, thus playing a decisive role in the provision of competencies for regional, social and cultural development."

Having heard about the unique partnership pioneered by the CUC initiative and the success it has already attained, the delegation were keen to discover more, and flew in to meet the CUC partners.

The CUC partnership consists of The University of Exeter, The University of Plymouth, University College Falmouth, The Open University, Truro College, Cornwall College, Penwith College, The College of St Mark and St John and the Peninsula Medical School. Since 2001 it has resulted in a range of new Higher Education buildings, facilities and courses across Cornwall, more than doubling student numbers, combating the 'brain drain' and stimulating a wealth of new business and graduate opportunities.

During the visit Fyra Norra and CUC delegates shared their ideas for encouraging research, development and innovation by improving Higher Education provision. A video conference link to the South West UK Brussels Office also explored further options for collaborative ventures and funding. The group took in a tour of the world class facilities at the Tremough campus, shared by University College Falmouth and the University of Exeter, which has received EU Objective One investment.

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, said: "The unique hub and rim model of Objective One's flagship project, CUC, is gaining increasing interest from across Europe. As EU countries aim for future economic success they are keen to understand how past structural investment, such as Objective One, has been used successfully. The Combined Universities in Cornwall is already recognised across Europe as a best practice project with economic regeneration at its heart."

CUC Executive Director, Ian Tunbridge, commented: "It really is an accolade for Cornwall to be so highly regarded within the EU - to be seen as a successful model for economic and social regeneration that other regions want to emulate and learn from. We are always happy to welcome visitors, to share our objectives and enthusiasm with them and to hear their ideas."

For further information please contact Emma Stallard, Combined Universities in Cornwall PR and Communications Officer, on 01326 370446 or email emma.stallard@cuc.ac.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) project, both Phase 1 and Phase 2, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF). The University of Exeter, University College Falmouth and the University of Plymouth are partners of the CUC.

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Editor's notes:

The Combined Universities in Cornwall is a dynamic and visionary partnership that is one of the driving forces behind Cornwall's economic renaissance. This partnership combines the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, University College Falmouth, The Open University, The College of St Mark & St John, and the Peninsula Medical School, with Cornwall's Further Education colleges - Cornwall College, Truro College and Penwith College. It aims not only to provide the students of the future with more choice and greater opportunities, but also to boost the economic fortunes of the region for the benefit of one and all.

The CUC initiative has been invested in by the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the South West Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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