Oxford University professor Carol Leonard delivers a lecture to the Campus participants
On June 19 the participants of the Summer Campus visited a lecture by the RANEPA vice rector and Oxford University professor Carol Leonard devoted to the role of clusters in regional development. "My goal is to determine how difficult it is for regional authorities to make legislative steps to develop their region", the expert noted.
Carol Leonard proposed the lecture should be in a form of a business game. The task of the teams was to present a region’s potential so that it could gain the right to establish a specialized cluster. According to Carol Leonard, clusters play an important role not only in regional economy, but also in the country’s development in general. "Sometimes clusters form naturally in regions with long manufacturing traditions, required scientific base, human capital and infrastructure. And when such a region enters the market, it attracts foreign investors", she commented. She also emphasized that alongside with mechanisms enhancing regional industrial efficiency, regional authorities should also create a system for interaction with investors. "You often hear that geography is not so important. Today there are a lot of means of communication, but they cannot translate all information. A lot of important deals can be made only at an in-person meeting", said Carol Leonard.
The participants were divided into four groups and a jury was selected to assess their performance. During the team discussion the students analyzed statistic data provided by the lecturer and defined region’s most promising industries. Group No.1 presented the Republic of Tatarstan and suggested it should be considered as a platform for development of energy sector, education, sports, medicine and innovations. The team which presented Samara region focused on utilization of the region’s natural resources and human capital. Group No.3 presented Yaroslavl region as a platform for tourist and industrial clusters. Group No.4 also presented the Republic of Tatarstan but with a focus on recreation and tourist sectors.
Following the teams’ performance, the team presenting Yaroslavl region was chosen as a winner. The jury members made a special mention of its leader’s rhetorical skills, as well as general logic and reasonableness of their performance. Apart from that, they highly praised the presentation of Samara region which compared regional and national statistics.
In conclusion, Carol Leonard pointed out the high potential of the Campus participants, their cooperation skills and ability to represent team interests. She noted, "I believe the students' efforts were of a very high level both this and last year. They possess the qualities which I highly appreciate, such as willingness to act as a leader."