Erik Bergkvist hälsar välkommen till Region Västerbotten, Harrieth Claesson till Skellefteå och jag till konferensen. Här är mitt tal:
First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me to this UNICRED conference. I’m very happy to be here, and I’m looking forward to interesting meetings and discussions.
My name is Maria Kristoffersson. I live in Vilhelmina, a small town in Lapland, and I’m the municipal commissioner for Vilhelmina. Vilhelmina is one of the Akademi Norr member municipalities. Akademi Norr is a partnership between 12 municipalities from 4 different counties in the north of Sweden. I’m also a member of the Akademi Norr Board of Directors, which consists of the municipal Executive Committee Chairs of all the 12 member municipalities.
Akademi Norr was founded in 2000, and the partners built up learning centres as operative units, which was very interesting, but also very challenging. We had to start from the beginning and build something new, in a place where educational institutions had a vey limited role in the community, and new ways and ideas were not always immediately accepted. At the same time the work was very rewarding, and over the years we’ve had the opportunity to follow a number of students through university education and new professions. The learning centre has given many people possibilities they never had before.
For us in Vilhelmina, Akademi Norr has meant that a we’ve been supplied with academic competence within a variety of areas, since distance education, in most cases, has often attracted people with a strong local anchorage. Before the Akademi Norr days we often lost those of our young people who had to move for campus education and who ended up at other places in Sweden.
This UNICREDS project is a cooperation between 7 regions in Europe: in Bulgaria, Cornwall, Finland, Hungary, Scotland, the Czech Republic, the southernmost and the northernmost parts of the United Kingdom, that is Cornwall and Scotland and three different, but overlapping regions in northern Sweden.
The core objective of the network is to demonstrate how the triple helix model can assist the transformation of failing peripheral regions into centres of excellence in research and innovation and to propose this approach as a model for future EU education and regional development programmes.
The project will develop 5 work packages based on the sequential stages towards achieving regional excellence in research and innovation.
This conference today will account for the first Work package, which has been led by Akademi Norr: Geographic and Community Fit – a design of a decentralized higher education model to meet specific physical and social characteristics of failing regional economies in peripheral areas.
Five of the UNICREDS partners already have experience from this: the Combined Universities in Cornwall, the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland, the Seinäjoki University Consortium and Technology Centre in Finland, and Campus Skellefteå and Akademi Norr in Sweden. These five partners are also presenting Work Package 1 case studies today. And we’re going to listen to two of them, the UHI and the CUC, in roughly one hour. But all the case studies are also showcased as posters in the entrance hall. So, please, have a look at them, whenever you have the opportunity.
So, on behalf of Akademi Norr I would like to wish you very welcome to these two conference and seminar days here in Skellefteå. I sincerely hope that you’ll find the Work Package 1 Conference today as well as the Work Package 2 Seminar tomorrow very rewarding and useful. As from tomorrow Akademi Norr will hand over the relay baton to our fellow northerner countrymen from Skellefteå, who will be in charge of Work Package 2.
I would also like to express my gratitude to Johnny Högberg and his Akademi Norr work team for an excellent Work Package 1 job – so far! – It’s not over yet!
So welcome to this part of Europé, the top of Europé! I hope you all will hav e the opportunity to come back to wisit us and If you come ti Vilhelmina, just give me a call and i promise you to show you all my favorite places.