During the preparation of the European Cluster Conference, the cluster community had the opportunity to co-create the agenda of the conference by contributing trending topics important for the future cluster development.
The session started off with some inspiring presentations:
Andrea Zenker (European Observatory for Clusters and Industrial Change, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI) presented an analysis of cluster programmes in Europe and beyond. This stocktaking provides information on cluster programmes in 29 countries and 49 regions in Europe and 10 non-European countries. Cluster policies are an essential instrument for regional, national and international industrial policies. Cluster policy improves competitiveness and growth by supporting innovation, R&D, modernisation, and favourable framework conditions. Clusters get support through dedicated programmes, often in the context of economic promotion, innovation and specialisation. In the future, the importance of cluster programmes will even increase!
Laura Delponte (European Observatory for Clusters and Industrial Change, Centre for Industrial Studies) raised awareness for the lessons learnt from fostering modern Cluster Policy in ten European pilot-regions in industrial transition. Their common challenges were the lack of access to research, insufficient collaboration, the need to improve productivity, the need to increase cluster management and the need to reinvigorate. A “managed industrial transition” implies understanding challenges and assets of the regional industrial base, developing a strategy and identifying focus points for industrial modernisation, coordinating resources and building networks and identifying and implementing key measures to foster the industrial modernisation. Clusters act as “catalysts of the regional industrial transition strategy” by following key functions: an intelligence, a connecting and a support function.
James Wilson (Orkestra – Basque Institute of Competitiveness) represented the TCI Cluster Evaluation Working Group. He rose the question whether cluster policies do actually work. Cluster evaluation often proves to be difficult as many of their impacts are intangible and research is rare. His advices:
- View evaluation as a strategic learning tool
- Employ a basket of date, methods & tools
- Co-design evaluation with stakeholders
In the following break-out group discussions, the participants brought up the following #HotTopics:
The panellists of the #ClosingPanelDiscussion Daniel Cosnita (President of the Romanian Cluster Association Clustero), Hugues Sibille, (President of Crédit Coopératif, member of GECES cluster working group of the Commission Expert Group on Social Economy and Social Enterprises), Merete Nielsen (Director of Cluster Excellence Denmark and President of TCI Network) and Péter Keller (Head of International and Cluster Unit, Hungarian Ministry of Finance) dicussed with moderator Katarzyna Bałucka-Dębska (Policy Officer in Grow H1 – COSME Programme, SME Envoys and Relation with EASME) the issues raised.