What is the goal of the Cleverland knowledge region?
We want to make the Cleverland knowledge region visible as a cross-border region, where excellent education is available for students and attractive jobs at successful companies are available for graduates. There are also plenty of opportunities for ambitious entrepreneurs to develop their ideas in start-ups. We want to show that this region is very worthwhile for several reasons.
The core of the knowledge region is the close cooperation between Fontys Hogeschool in Venlo and Hochschule Niederrhein in Mönchengladbach. What does this cooperation look like?
We want to intensify cross-border cooperation between the colleges by offering joint education. From mutual enrolment for students from the neighbouring country to cooperation in joint degree programs and regular courses. We are jointly committed to convincing young people of the benefits of studying in a “cross-border region.” Ultimately, cross-border thinking and the mobility of teachers and students must be improved.
What can be done against the brain drain in the Euregion Rhine-Maas-North?
The border area suffers from the departure of highly skilled young workers. We want to convert the brain drain into a ‘brain gain’ and bind qualified, highly educated graduates to the region. With various match-making events and other measures, we want to bring successful companies from the Euregion together with graduates, and thus contribute to securing skilled workers in the Euregion Rhine-Maas-North in the long term.
What is meant by the term “knowledge region”?
Scientifically, this is not a clearly defined term. For me and the team, a knowledge region is a region that adapts quickly to the changing requirements of the knowledge society and has the necessary potential for this. This contains high-performing educational institutions – especially in higher education -, successful, innovative companies and good preconditions for start-ups. Cities and municipalities also play an important role, because they provide a diverse and attractive range of sports, leisure and culture, and a climate in which living and working are worthwhile for qualified employees.
What is special about the Cleverland knowledge region?
Everything I just mentioned. It should only become more visible and tangible for people inside and outside the Euregion Rhine-Maas-North. Cleverland has two other advantages. First, through cross-border cooperation we can achieve a better intercultural understanding between Germany and the Netherlands. We must take advantage of the possibilities of the border and not always see the obstacles only.
In addition, Cleverland is located between Eindhoven and Düsseldorf, two regions that also claim the characteristic ‘knowledge region’. Our Euregion has comparable potential; it allows residents to use the facilities of the metropolitan areas mentioned above, but does not have the problems these metropolitan areas face, such as high cost of living and infrastructural overload. We need to make these benefits much more visible.
Who is the target group of this project?
On the one hand, we want to appeal to young people – inside and outside the Euregion – who are thinking about their study choice or their future home and work location. Other important target groups are companies in the Euregion looking for specialized employees and companies outside the Euregion looking for a business location. We also want to reach study advisers and parents who support their pupils and children in their search for a suitable education. And of course we want to address residents of the Euregion themselves, so that they can better identify with their own region.