New cluster concepts that boost Central Europe's competitiveness

By working in tandem, innovative companies and research institutes in emerging industries are making clusters across Central Europe more competitive.

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" CluStrat offers a unique chance to gain new insights into the implementation of Key-Enabling Technologies in traditional industries – in several of the prospective growth areas defined by Baden-Württemberg's State Government. "

Hermann Koch, Deputy Head of “Cluster Policy Regional Economic Policy” Unit, Ministry of Finance and Economics, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Global challenges such as Europe's ageing population and climate change are creating new market opportunities in new industries. The Central European partners in CluStrat have joined forces to develop cluster concepts and instruments in the emerging industries of active ageing, the green economy and sustainable mobility.

The project partners have developed a joint strategy to enhance the innovation capacity and competitiveness of clusters in the region. This strategy builds on the innovation potential of both traditional and emerging industries, technologies and services. It takes a cross-sectorial approach, embracing key enabling technologies, while building on smart specialisation strategies.

The consortium firstly assessed the potential of each participating region in the three emerging industries identified above. With a strategy in place, pilot actions then tested new cluster concepts in each region. The results and experiences from these pilot actions were then translated into proposals at regional, national and transnational levels. Finally, a joint action plan showed how the new cluster concepts could be introduced in practice.

Continuous dialogue

The partners also started a policy dialogue at regional, national and transnational level. This is an ongoing process involving policy makers at all levels. It serves the purpose of sharing and validating project findings and proposed actions and recommendations.

This systematic and dialogue-oriented process increases internal integration and policy development. It also encourages cross-regional links between clusters and cluster policy makers, while enhancing the common identity of the region.

In addition, the strategy links emerging technologies and services with traditional sector clusters and enables cross cutting issues such as sustainability and gender to get the policy attention they deserve. CluStrat has been recognised as a “Light House” project with the EU strategy for the Danube Region.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the extension of the project “CluStrat - Boosting innovation through new cluster concepts in support of emerging issues and cross-sectoral themes” is EUR 3 691 259, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 2 945 988 from the Operational Programme “Central Europe” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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