„400 representatives from business networks, the European Commission and national policy makers debated the alignment of EU cluster and innovation policy post-2014”
Clusters play an important role when it comes to the access of SMEs to innovation and research, or the joint development of international markets. They will also play a crucial role in the future for the allocation of Structural Funds which requires greater prioritization and specialization within regions.
The European Cluster Conference 2012, that took place in Vienna from 18-20 April, hosted more than 400 representatives from 41 countries in the ancient halls of Palais Niederösterreich. At the three-day event high-level representatives from politics, the EU Commission and cluster organisations discussed the results from a range of previous and current initiatives, future challenges for the sustainability of clusters and the reorientation of cluster policy. Highlights of the conference were the awarding of the first three Cluster Management Excellence GOLD labels and the election of the European Cluster Manager of the Year 2012 – Micael Gustafsson, from Cluster55 in Sweden. Additionally Cluster West from France won the design competition "Put your cluster on the map". Also during the conference, the Cluster Women European Network (ClusterWene) was set up by 30 women from 12 countries. The conference was moderated by Werner Pamminger, CEO Clusterland Upper Austria.
The event was organised by Clusterland Upper Austria, the Lower Austrian Business Agency ecoplus, Foundation Sophia Antipolis and MFG - Innovation Agency for ICT and Media of the State of Baden-Württemberg.