Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

European Clusters Excellence

European Clusters Excellence

High quality cluster management is a key element of successful world-class clusters. Strong management is crucial for cluster organisations for providing professional services to cluster firms, for assisting companies to access global markets successfully, and for raising the innovation capacity and competitiveness of cluster firms.
To create more world-class clusters across the EU by strengthening cluster excellence, the Commission launched in 2009 the European Cluster Excellence Initiative - ECEI.

Aims of the ECEI

ECEI's main aim was to create a benchmarking methodology for cluster organisations to improve their internal management process and the way they offer services. Secondly, the ECEI sought to develop training materials to help cluster managers improve their own managerial capability.
To validate and apply the benchmarking tool and the training materials, two Calls for proposals were launched under CIP in 2011 and 2013 and 8 pilot projects were funded.
The actions developed under the ECEI are being pursued by the


By May 2014, 566 cluster organisations from 35 countries have applied the EU benchmarking methodology and acquired the bronze label of cluster excellence, and 42 of them hold the gold label.

The Future of Cluster Excellence

The Cluster Excellence Programme under COSME will continue to support benchmarking efforts and training activities for cluster organisations and business networks on cluster excellence through annual calls for proposals. The first call was launched in July 2014.