The European Commission has launched a range of initiatives to foster innovation and growth, and to strengthen the underlying competitiveness of the European economy. A key area of interest is the development of emerging industries and their role in driving economic transformations and growth. Emerging industries can be understood as 'the establishment of an entirely new industrial value chain, or the radical reconfiguration of an existing one, driven by a disruptive idea (or convergence of ideas), leading to turning these ideas/opportunities into new products/services with higher added value'. Therefore, emerging industries can but must not always be completely 'new' industrial sectors. They are new combinations of narrowly defined activities that can also comprise existing industrial sectors that are evolving into emerging industries in response to new technologies, market demands, and value chain configurations.
Emerging industries thrive on cross-sectoral linkages; they combine narrow activities in new ways, and it is this combination rather than the individual activity that generates economic value. Emerging industries are perceived to have a disproportionate importance for future growth, both in the medium and long term. The current work of the European Cluster Observatory is a central part of this agenda, aimed at supporting efforts to promote the development of more world-class clusters in Europe, notably with a view to fostering competitiveness and entrepreneurship in emerging industries. The main task of the European Cluster Observatory is to offer statistical analysis, mapping tools and policy advice towards the design of more evidence-based cluster policies in Europe. The ultimate objective is to help Member States and regions in designing smart specialisation and cluster strategies to assist companies in developing new, globally competitive advantages in emerging industries through clusters and, in this way, strengthen the role of cluster policies for the rejuvenation of Europe's industry as part of the Europe 2020 Strategy.
The European Cluster Panorama 2014 (7 MB) profiles developments in ten selected emerging industries, identified through a data-driven analytical process that focuses on the identification of strong and weak linkages across economic activities. These profiles capture the overall size and growth dynamics within each of these industries, and show their geographic footprint across EU regions. At the EU level, they can help search, in a more targeted way, for narrow hotspots of emerging linkages within these industries. They can also help identify those regions in Europe that have already been able to create the conditions for growth in these industries. At the regional level, the profiles provide key insights into the current patterns of specialisation across and within the ten emerging industries, and they can help regional authorities to focus on those areas where competences exist and growth is most likely to be achieved.
The present 2014 European Cluster Panorama is accompanied by two methodological reports. The first, Methodology and Findings Report for a Cluster Mapping of Related Sectors (855 kB), provides a detailed description of the process of defining cluster categories and emerging industries and has all the relevant definitions in terms of industrial classification (NACE codes). The second, Methodology and findings report for correlation analysis between cluster strength and competitiveness indicators (844 kB), contains further details on the regional competitiveness indicators and their relationships with emerging industry portfolio strength.
The European Cluster Observatory has published the European Cluster Panorama 2016 on the occasion of the European Cluster Conference held in Brussels on 1 December 2016. The Panorama provides an updated perspective on clusters and emerging industries across Europe. It documents the role and benefits of strong clusters and shows how emerging industries continue to outperform the rest of the economy. An entirely new data set adds insights on skills, entrepreneurship, and the evolution of clusters over time.
The European Cluster Panorama 2016 (3 MB) is now available.