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Ulrike Firniss, started EMAES 2016

Ulrike Firniss works as an EU Affairs Representative for Business Region Göteborg AB.

Tell us shortly about your master thesis

I chose a topic that is very well connected to my profession as EU Affairs Representative for Business Region Göteborg AB. My research inquired how the EU’s cluster policies support the EU’s concept of an ‘Innovation Union’. My thesis contributes to this EU concept by analyzing policy gaps with an unleashed potential for growth. The scientific relevance of my paper lies in assembling different elements to coherent suggestions to the Commission. These elements consist of analysis of my interviews with cluster professionals, identification of new logics in the EU cluster policy framework, a literature overview and a scrutiny of policy tools with unleashed growth potential.

What content or course within the program did you value the most?

Very many of the courses were really good. The course on environment and energy was capturing, especially the Collective Action Theory. The mini assignment on fishing I expected to be boring and non-relevant, however, it completely changed my perception on how we treat natural resources and actually still haunts me. I have done more reading on the topic myself.

The real fun part of the program was the course on European Market integration and EU Law. With a professor like Andreas Moberg, you will be longing for the next assignment, as all of them are fun – like building a wiki or preparing a moot court. And, not surprisingly, you will remember in detail what you learned even a year later!

What would you say was the hardest part of the EMAES-program?

I am supposed to answer SPSS but I do not. After the first chock(s), it actually is quite fun. The value becomes obvious later in reality, I am now able to understand statistic with more insight. I would not want to miss this knowledge. The hardest part for me was the fact to be taught facts, whilst the assignments demanded scientific excellence to an extend that was not part of the tuition. This caused frustration and resignation. However, we students were quite clear with our criticism and felt the message was taken.

What advice can you offer on how to best manage to combine full time work with the EMAES-program? How did you do to succeed?

Discipline! I applied a strict working schedule – often with open end, but never with a delayed start. Reward mechanism. 4 hours work is equivalent to one hour pleasure. Lots of herbal tea.

In what way do you think the program will contribute to your professional career? What is your plan for the future?

I understand the greater EU context in a much deeper way. I gained profound knowledge in the field I am working with. And, last not least, I feel very secure of myself professionally and do make my voice (actually, my employer’s voice) heard in Brussels to a much larger extent than before I did the EMAES – because now I know the facts and can dwell upon my knowledge.

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