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09.09.05
Cornwall Shares Experience Of Regeneration Through Education

Representatives from across Europe have been invited to hear how Cornwall is leading the way in the use of university-level education as a key driver for economic regeneration. Senior figures from the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) initiative and its supporters will deliver a seminar at the European Commission's Directorate for the Regions on September 14th, followed by an evening reception at the European Parliament.

Professor Alan Livingston, chair of the CUC Steering Group said: "We believe that our experiences in Cornwall and the groundbreaking solutions we have developed could be of great value to other regions. We also hope that our presence in Brussels will lead to new relationships and new opportunities to learn about other related initiatives which could inform our work in Cornwall."

Graham Meadows, Director General for Regional Policy will deliver the opening address at the seminar, which will include a presentation from Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Neil Parish MEP will open the evening reception on behalf of the host, Graham Watson MEP (who is unable to attend) and Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hübner, will give a welcome speech. Speakers at the reception will include Judith Reynolds, Board Member of the South West Regional Development Agency, Philip Johnson, Deputy Director of European Programmes for the Government Office for the South West, and Peter Stethridge, Chief Executive of Cornwall County Council. The reception and seminar have been arranged in cooperation with the South West UK Brussels Office.

Cornwall has never had a traditional university, a fact which until recently forced 90% of its young people who chose to undertake higher study to leave the region. Few returned to live and work in Cornwall, creating a 'brain drain' that made it hard for businesses to recruit skilled graduates locally. The Combined Universities in Cornwall, a partnership of eight universities and colleges serving Cornwall, was formed to address these challenges.

An initial investment of £65 million from the UK Government and the European Union, (CUC is the UK's biggest Objective one project) has enabled the partnership to massively expand university-level provision in Cornwall using an innovative 'hub' and 'rim' model whereby a larger central campus supports and is supported by smaller facilities spread around the region. Alongside the growth of education provision, the CUC has developed the capacity of its partner universities and colleges to support business in the region. A further £55m investment package was secured in spring 2005. The CUC is expected to generate over 4000 jobs by 2025 and to create over 4,500 student places producing 1,500 graduates each year by 2011.

For further information please contact David Kirk in the CUC PR & Communications Office on 01326 370471 or email: david.kirk@cuc.ac.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Combined Universities in Cornwall through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Editor's notes:

Cornwall lies at the extreme southwest tip of the United Kingdom and is known for its natural beauty and cultural distinctiveness. In 1999, Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly became an Objective One region because average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per head of population was below the threshold of 75% of the European average.

The Combined Universities in Cornwall is a dynamic and visionary partnership that is one of the driving forces behind Cornwall's 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 Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the South West Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

The South West UK Brussels Office (SWUKBO) was established in April 2001, giving the South West of England a unified voice in Brussels for the first time. The office is supported by a core partnership comprising the South West of England Regional Development Agency and first tier local authorities in the South West of England. The office also works closely with the Objective One Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and the South West Objective 2 programme, which operates across parts of Devon, West Somerset and Bristol. The Brussels Office supports the European dimension of the work of the partner bodies. The objectives of the Office are:

to improve the South West's regional representation in Europe
to ensure the European Institutions fully understand the needs and opportunities of the South West and its sub-regions
to provide partners with the information and intelligence necessary for the South West to optimise the benefit of EU membership
to develop transnational links with other EU regions

Useful websites:

www.cuc.ac.uk
www.southwestukbrusselsoffice.com

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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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