Strengthening collaboration between the Regional Council of Kainuu & KAMK: integration of state-of-the-art knowledge from two ongoing international projects into the educational process.

The Regional Council of Kainuu (Kainuun Liitto) and Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (KAMK) jointly organized an event on 20th October 2020 to present the significance and opportunities resulted from this multi-regional, cross-border collaboration. The Regional Council of Kainuu is a lead partner in two international projects, Barents Region Transport and Logistics (BRTL) and Northern Axis – Barents Link (NABL). Both projects are supported by the Kolarctic Cross Border Cooperation Programme. NABL project activities are exploring the potential of the main transport infrastructure in the border areas alongside the Northern Axis – Barents Link transport corridor, cross-border mobility and connections to the Northern Sea Routes. BRTL project’s aim is to put the state level multilateral joint strategy document “Joint Barents Transport Plan” in practice on the regional level.

The projects’ main target groups are public administrations, business companies, educational and research communities. However, the final beneficiaries of the enhanced connectivity are, both, explicitly and implicitly the people of the Barents Region including students studying at KAMK; there will be new opportunities resulted from the improved connectivity, established collaboration, smoother mobility of people, goods and knowledge. According to BRTL Project Manager, Jussi Huotari “both Arctic and Barents cooperation structures and the added value for international cooperation is not that well acknowledged at regional level. However, people-to-people contacts in form of travel and trade between arctic regions has existed for thousands of years. This long history forms the basis for cooperation structures what we have today”.

Mr. Jussi Huotari, BRTL Project Manager and Ms. Tatiana Petrova, NABL Project Manager and KAMK alumni provided an information session to about 100 students from KAMK. In addition to creating awareness of the collaborations, the presenters also disseminated results of both projects, including case studies & pre-studies results and reiterate the significance and role of the region in the global market. Both presenters underlined an importance of cooperation inside the Barents Region in these highly turbulent times.

Through the dissemination event the student’s gained deeper insight and state-of-the-art knowledge into the intricacies of not only transport and logistics in the Arctic and Barents regions, but a more holistic view on the influence of politics, foreign relations and sustainable economic development.  A lively Q&A session followed the lectures, demonstrating increased knowledge capacity as a result of the event. The aim for this collaboration event was share information about international activities of Regional Council of Kainuu but also to gain new and fresh ideas for both projects from students. “In my opinion, we succeeded really well”, according to Tatiana Petrova, NABL Project Manager.

The student’s collective feedback for the event was overwhelmingly positive. Consensus was achieved to hear more on the developments of the project’s future activities with particular focus on the benefits and practical implications on the economy of Kainuu and indeed opportunities for students. According to Huotari, “This was really an interesting event”, he continues “Dissemination seminars are a concrete way to share information, not only about projects, but also about the Regional Council of Kainuu’s activities to stakeholders and especially to students and youth. Furthermore, I see this as a win-win situation where both Regional council and KAMK benefits”.