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Clusterix 2.0 – New Models of Innovation for Strategic Cluster Partnerships

Clusterix 2.0 is an interregional cooperation project funded under the 1st call of proposals of INTERREG Europe Interregional Cooperation Programme.

The programme seeks to improve the implementation of regional development policies and programs, in particular programs for Investment for Growth and Jobs and, where relevant, European Territorial Cooperation programmes, by promoting the exchange of experience and new policies learning amongst stakeholders of regional interest. The program has a budget of EUR 359 million and finances two types of actions: interregional cooperation and policy learning platforms.

New models of innovation are needed because globalization and digitalization cause rapidly changing value chains and business models. Policy makers need to learn about such new models to keep the pace and be able to provide fast and flexible support for emerging industries in order to make/keep a region competitive at global scale.

Clusterix 2.0 intends to improve policy instruments directly related to providing innovation in order to optimally exploit the capacity of the clusters to facilitate innovative processes with focus on complementary competences and introducing new innovation models for operational development and implementation of cluster strategic partnerships. The project aims at increasing the number of collaborations between enterprises and knowledge institutions (by 5 % on average by 2020) leading to new value chains through cross-cluster collaboration and eventually to new products and solutions

The joint objective of the project partners (6 of which already implemented Clusterix project and 4 new partners) is to bring new innovative operational measures related to:

  • ­ New innovation models in the clusters’ eco-systems,
  • Defining the smart regional profile and
  • Efficient implementation of RIS and RIS3.

There is also envisaged to intervene for improving the policy instruments related to networking, clusters and open innovation through smart specialization.

A secondary objective is represented by the increasing of the number of cross-sectorial collaborations and of the partnerships between the clusters from each region involved in the project by developing interregional strategic partnerships based on complementary competences identified from the definition of the smart profile of the regions.

The direct beneficiaries are minimum 50 persons active within the Management Authorities / Intermediate Bodies, implementation bodies and various stakeholders for increased professional capacity during the interregional exchanges.

The target is to improve 10 policy instruments (9 structural funds and 2 regional instrument) which will spread the effect upon the enterprises, research institutes and other innovation actors.

Policy instrument targeted by the North-East RDA (PP10) : Regional Operational Programme (ROP) 2014-2020, particularly Priority Axis 1, Investment Priority 1.1, Thematic Objective 1: Consolidation of research, technologic development and innovation; Specific objective – Increasing the innovation in companies by supporting the innovation and technology transfer entities in fields of smart specialization.

Since the level of innovation and industrial performance in the North-East Region is not very high, it is necessary to support partnerships between businesses and research institutions in order to
1. increase the transfer of knowledge, technology and staff with RDI skills,
2. to develop products and processes based on market demand;
3. develop new models of innovation based on closer links and synergies between the relevant players,
4. provide the labour market with qualified staff matching the domestic needs of the companies.

At the level of the region, the following needs were identified and the improvements that are to be made go in the following directions:

1. Development of innovation competences and skills amongst the new generation – to be solved by development of ‘partnerships of curricula” between the high university level and enterprises in RIS3 fields in order to update the offer of specializations
2. Supporting the innovative enterprises in the North-East Region – through assistance and services for conversion of innovative ideas into businesses by implementation of “simulated enterprises” type programs and funding schemes for micro-crediting of innovative business ideas;
3. Creation and consolidation of business networks and cluster networks – by setting up horizontal regional business networks (associations or groups of producers) or vertical networks (along or inter the value chains); support for inter-clusters cooperation including their integration into international value chains though strategic partnerships
4. Increasing the integrated action capacity of existing regional networks of businesses and clusters – by providing the support to the management of business networks as well as support for developing services provided by the businesses and clusters networks to their own members

The project will be implemented in 2 phases, during a 5 year-period, starting with the 1st of April 2016:
Phase 1 = 3 years, for actions concerning experience exchange and elaboration of action plans;
Phase 2 = 2 years, activities dedicated to implementation of action plans
Total budget
: 2,145,049 Euro
Budget of the North-East RDA : 153,775 Euro, of which 85% ERDF co-funding, 13% national co-funding, 2% North-East RDA’s own contribution.

During the first 3 semesters of the implementation period, the good practices will be identified and discussed in order to select and analyse the most appropriate ones for transferring. During semesters 4-6, there will be performed an in-depth analysis of the details related to transfer of good practices, by exploration visits, in such a way as to have their inclusion into the action plan to be implemented in Phase 2 (last 4 semesters of the project).
Each partner will organise an exploration meeting that will involve the partners and other relevant actors and stakeholders as well. In the partner regions there will be also regional reflection activities organised on semester basis by involving regional stakeholders in order to assess the level of transferability of practices as well as the opportunities and solutions for the improvement of regional policies.

The project includes also organisation of staff exchanges if the consortium will consider it as relevant.

During the Phase 1, two specific actions will be organised:
1. thematic workshop by involving external experts, focused on increasing the level of specialized knowledge of the partners in the field of clusters development.
2. joint exercise of benchmarking, including interviews and a peer-review, intended to find our agency’s position by comparison with the other project partners highlighting the strong and weak points identified.

Phase 1 will be finalized with the development of the action plan based on the transferred knowledge amongst partners. The lessons learnt from the cooperation process will generate policy recommendations to be disseminated in Europe. The partners expressed their interest in participating to the activities of the policy learning platform created in the context of Interreg Europe, afferent to policies concerning innovation and clusters.

In Phase 2 there will be organized 2 meetings for monitoring and exchanging opinions concerning effective implementation of the action plans. The reflection-related activities will continue to be implemented also in this project phase.

Main indicators (per project, imposed by the programme):

  • 32 policy learning events;
  • ­ Minimum 20 good practices identified, analysed and shared;
  • 50 persons with increased professional capacity (staff of the management authority / intermediate body);
  • 10 action plans developed and implemented;
  • 50 media releases.

Main outputs (per project):

  • ­No. of programmes that will implement measures resulted from the project: 9
  • No. of other policy instruments that will implement measures resulted from the project: 1
  • Estimated value of structural funds influenced by the project: 5,860,000 Euro
  • Estimated value of other types of funds influenced by the project: 7,800,000 Euro

Self-defined performance indicators connected to envisaged policy (per North-East RDA):

  • ­ No. of technologic transfer entities supported: 5

Project Partners
1. Ecoplus. The Business Agency of Lower Austria - Lead Partner
2. IDM Suedtirol Alto Adige, Italy
3. WestPannon Regional and Economic Development Public Nonprofit Ltd., Hungary
4. INMA – National Institute of Research – Development for Machines and Installations designed to Agriculture and Food Industry, Romania
5. Lund University, Sweden
6. Regional Development Agency Ostrava, Czech Republic
7. Region of Southern Denmark
8. Regional Council of Auvergne, France
9. Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Belgium
10. North-East Regional Development Agency, Romania
11. Region Skåne, Sweden

The kick-off meeting of the project, Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy - April 11 - 13, 2016
During the first meeting of the project consortium, there were discussed the work plan for the first semester (April-September 2016), details on issues related to financial management (establishment of the project’s Steering Committee, eligible costs, financial reporting, first level control) , communication, collection and selection of good practices. Also it was organized a presentation of best practices from South Tyrol, Italy and a study visit to NOI Technology Park in Bolzano.

 Presentations of good practices:

The second meeting of the project consortium, Malmö, Sweden, 20-22 June 2016
The second meeting of the consortium facilitated the meeting of the members of the project Steering Committee and participation in a workshop entitled " European initiatives fostering strategic cluster partnerships and emerging industries" where there were presented opportunities for cooperation and promotion of clusters through Vanguard Initiative, RIS3 thematic platform and European Cluster Collaboration Platform. The Swedish partner, Region Skåne, facilitated the presentation of best practices in southern Sweden and a study visit at Media Evolution City, a highly developed media cluster, with over 400 members and partners. There were also presented three examples of good practices for entrepreneurs facilitating funding through crowd-funding.



Visit dedicated project webpage here: