We are Cleverland – the cross-border knowledge region between the Rhine and Meuse with the cities of Krefeld, Mönchengladbach and Venlo! Where the strengths of “Cleverland – the knowledge region” lie can be read on www.cleverland.eu since 15 June, 2020. In German, Dutch and English, the new internet portal aims to provide information about the innovative companies, the attractive study offers and the high quality of life in the border region.
The start of the marketing of the cross-border knowledge region Cleverland is an important milestone of the German-Dutch project euregio campus-Limburg/Lower Rhine. “We have three main goals: to increase the perception of Cleverland as a knowledge region, to connect the two large universities in the region more closely with each other through cross-border study programmes and to make the attractiveness of the region as a place to work and live tangible for students, graduates and qualified specialists,” explains project leader Professor Dr. Rüdiger Hamm, who is also head of the Niederrhein Institute for Regional and Structural Research (NIERS) at the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences.
Previous studies have shown that the region suffers from a brain drain, and the qualified university graduates trained in the region are looking for their first job elsewhere. This is probably also due to the fact that students and graduates on the one hand and regional companies on the other still do not know enough about each other. The Cleverland campaign wants to change this! It makes young people aware of the study opportunities and shows well-educated adults the core industries, the innovative small and medium-sized companies and the hidden champions of the region. The aim is to bring companies and qualified workers together, to motivate skilled workers to stay and young people to come. In the long term, the project partners want to reduce the brain drain in this way. To achieve this, the Cleverland website will grow in the next few months: companies will have the opportunity to introduce themselves. Highly qualified graduates can search for potential employers in the border region according to their job interests. Students will find explanations about the attractive study offers of the regional universities. And companies get an overview of which skilled workers are trained here in the region.
Beyond the perception of the Cleverland knowledge region with its strengths and the reduction of the brain drain, however, a third objective is being pursued: The cooperation between the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences and the Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Venlo in the field of teaching is to be intensified. “With the cross-border knowledge region, we want to set an example of how we in Europe can work together even better in the field of education and business and thus further reduce the barrier effect of the border,” explains Prof. Dr. Hamm.
The project, which was launched on 1 January 2019, will run until December 2021 and is being funded with a total of 1.8 million euros by the European Union, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Dutch province of Limburg. Project partners are the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, the Fontys University of Applied Sciences (Venlo), the cities of Krefeld, Mönchengladbach and Venlo and the business development agencies from Mönchengladbach and Krefeld.
The original project “euregio campus Limburg/Lower Rhine”
The cities of Krefeld, Mönchengladbach and Venlo as well as the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences and Fontys Hogeschool in Venlo want to raise the profile of the euregio rhein-maas-nord and create a cross-border educational region. This is the aim of the project “euregio campus Limburg/Lower Rhine”. The project, which was launched on 1 January 2019, will run until the end of 2021 and will receive a total of 1.8 million euros in funding from the European Union, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Dutch province of Limburg.
The project has three main objectives:
- to increase the profile of the euregio rhein-maas-nord as a study location,
- to link the two universities by offering cross-border courses, and
- to make euregio more attractive to graduates as a place to work and live.
The main innovative aspect of the project is that the measures designed to achieve these objectives are closely interlinked. This is designed to give the educational region rhein-maas-nord a general boost and improve its positioning.
The project partners are planning to implement the goals using a variety of activities and measures. One package of measures is about the joint marketing of the cross-border, euregional education and knowledge region. So far, it does not exist. But a border region offers numerous advantages as a place of study. More services are needed to fill the cross-border educational area with life. This is also a central component of the project. Joint educational offers must be developed and implemented, existing study and further training offers of the universities must be compared and intersections for more cooperation identified.