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18.10.05
Czechs Look To CUC For Inspiration

Senior officials from the Liberec region of the Czech Republic flew to Cornwall last week to find out how the Combined Universities in Cornwall, (CUC) initiative is increasing higher education opportunities and driving economic regeneration.

The group learned how the University of Exeter in Cornwall and University College Falmouth are pioneering a new approach to higher education by sharing facilities at the Tremough campus. They were also welcomed at Cornwall College Camborne and gained an understanding of the CUC's innovative structure, which is built on a central hub, (Tremough) which supports and is supported by the 'rim' of Cornwall College, Truro College and Penwith College campuses offering university-level education at many sites across the region. The CUC partnership also includes the University of Plymouth, which awards most of the foundation degrees offered at the rim colleges and trains Cornwall's nurses through its Faculty of Health and Social Work in Truro, the Open University and the College of St Mark and St John.

CUC coordinator, Gordon Kelly, accompanied the Czech officials during their stay: "Our visitors were clearly inspired by what they saw in Cornwall. Like Cornwall, the Liberec region has seen the decline of its traditional heavy industries. They are now looking to knowledge-intensive industries for their future prosperity, but to succeed they need to retrain and educate their workforce and employees to tackle the challenges of the 21st century economy. They asked to come here because in Cornwall we have been very successful in using investment from the Government and Objective One to drive a rapid, massive expansion of higher education by working together in a partnership that is so much more than the sum of its parts."

This latest expression of interest from overseas comes a month after the CUC held a series of events in Brussels, including a function in the European Parliament, attended by representatives from over 40 European regions, all hoping to learn from the groundbreaking initiatives happening in Cornwall.

The Czech delegation also visited Research Instruments at the company's base in Falmouth to see an example of the type of knowledge-based businesses which education and regeneration leaders believe are key to Cornwall's regeneration in the years ahead. Research Instruments is a specialist in technology for IVF treatment and has employed local graduates through the Unlocking Cornish Potential graduate placement programme.

For more 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 both phase 1 and phase 2 of the CUC through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Objective One programme has also invested in the Unlocking Cornish Potential project through the European Social Fund (ESF).

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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 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.

Phase 1 of 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.

Phase 2 of the CUC initiative is being invested in by the Objective One Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the Department for Education and Skills, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and the South West Regional Development Agency. The CUC is the flagship project of the Objective One programme.

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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