eap-plus.eu – STI International Cooperation Network for Eastern Partnership Countries - PLUS

Clusters

Activities aiming at strengthening clusters in EaP countries, transferring EU’s good practices and facilitating sustainable inter-cluster cooperation between EU’s and EaP countries’ existing or emerging clusters will be implemented, including a grant scheme to support EU–EaP cluster collaboration. That way EaP PLUS enhances the EU-EaP research and innovation partnership


Task 3.3: Boosting Clusters in EaP

The development of clusters in EU constitutes a good practice in itself in the field of academia – industry – government collaboration, for the benefit to the regional economy. The cluster landscape in EaP countries is not yet very well developed, despite certain existing political wills and emergence of some initiatives aiming to cluster policy makers, association of businesses, innovative enterprises and academia (such as the light technology cluster established in Belarus that started in January 2015; the innovative agro-clusters initiatives in Ukraine; etc.).

This task aims at strengthening clusters in EaP countries, transferring EU’s good practices and facilitating sustainable inter-cluster cooperation between EU’s and EaP countries’ existing or emerging clusters. The task includes a review of the cluster activity in EaP countries; the implementation of a grant scheme to support EU – EaP cluster collaboration; a workshop involving the grant recipient clusters to share their experiences; the preparation of a comprehensive report on the cluster activity and potential in EaP countries with emphasis on the collaboration between EU and EaP in the field of clusters.

Activity 3.3a: Review of the state of development of clusters and emerging clusters in EaP

This activity reviewed the state of development of clusters in EaP – including existing and emerging innovative cluster initiatives, in order to provide:

  • a precise/quantitative knowledge of existing clusters or emerging cluster initiatives in EaP;
  • a qualitative knowledge of current strengths and weaknesses;
  • an identification of the needs of the existing and emerging clusters in EaP countries,

The review allowed to better focus the next project activities (namely, the grant scheme described below).

Please see https://www.eap-plus.eu/object/document/53 to access the deliverable!

Activity 3.3 b: Cluster grant scheme

A grant scheme was established to finance cluster to cluster EU – EaP collaboration (for existing and emerging cluster initiatives). It was based on the aforementioned review (Activity 3.3a) with the identified clusters and emerging cluster initiatives being the target group of this task, together with their potential partner clusters in EU.

In total, six grants of up to 10.000€ were offered to EaP clusters or cluster-like legal entities or organisations. The grants cover the expenses of the cooperative activity of the EaP and their EU partner clusters and are allocated on a competitive basis following the evaluation by the EaP project representatives.

The evaluation of the selection committee was based on three main criteria:

  • Closeness of the EaP and EU cluster or emerging cluster-like organisation in meeting the European definition of a cluster.
  • Soundness of the research and innovation activities of the EU and EaP cluster and cluster-like organisations.
  • Potential of the EaP cluster or cluster-like organisation in creating a sustainable long-term cooperation with a European cluster, and expected impact of the grant scheme activity in sustaining and/or developing this cooperation.

Results

Overall 29 applications were received in response to the call.

All the applications were evaluated based on the 3 criteria listed above.

The following Clusters were deemed to have the best applications with the highest potential for a successful long-term cooperation as well as research and innovation activities:

EaP Country

EaP Cluster

EU Cluster

Ukraine

Precrapathian eco-energy cluster

SolarTech Nonprofit Ltd. (ArchEnerg Cluster), Hungary

Ukraine

Association of Industrial Automation of Ukraine

The Polish Research and Development Cluster of the Internet of Things - Lublin Science and Technology Park, Poland

Moldova

Energy and Biomass Cluster

GREEN ENERGY Innovative Biomass Cluster, Romania

Belarus

Polessky State University

Logistics and Transport North - South, Poland

Armenia

Engineering Academy of Armenia

Transylvanian Mechanical Engineering Cluster - TMEC, Romania

Georgia

Georgian Tourism Association

Cluster Montagne, France

These 6 cluster partners have been undertaking joint activities together until the end of 2018.

Activity 3.3c: Funded clusters workshop

A workshop was organised for the six selected EaP cluster initiatives (but open to other interested EaP entities), for sharing among them good practices in terms of cluster activities dedicated to RDI cooperation (internal, i.e. among the cluster members, and external at national and international levels).  In particular, success stories from the region and beyond were presented and the transferability of best practices were analysed.

The two-day workshop was organised by the Georgian project partner, International Center for Advancement of Research Technology and Innovation (ICARTI), with the support of the project coordinator, the Centre for Regional and International STI Studies and Support (CeRISS), and the leader of cluster-related tasks in the EaP+ project (Inno TSD).

The first day started with a welcome by the local stakeholders, Dr. Givi Kochoradze, EC ICT NCP and Mariam Keburia, representing Georgian Rustaveli National Science FoundationThis was followed by a presentation of the EaP+ project and its cluster-related objectives by Svetlana Klessova, director of inno TSD France, and further presentations on the concept of clusters and the development of clusters in Georgia by Dominik Papenheim, Programme Officer at the Delegation of the EU to Georgia, Fabio Russo, UNIDO senior industrial development officer of trade, investment and innovation, Lucia Seel European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP) representative and Cluster expert, and Philipp Steinheim from GIZ.

The second half of the 1st day and first half of the 2nd day was dedicated to the 6 EaP clusters - who were granted up to 10 000 € for cooperation activities with their respective EU cluster partners- to present and discuss how they experienced their collaboration in the last 6 months, what difficulties they faced, what are the lessons learnt, what are the main achievements- and how to proceed from now on.

Finally, the second day was closed by a fruitful knowledge sharing interactive discussion session with the audience that tackled questions related to cluster development in the EaP countries, including how clusters can be seen as drivers of research and innovation and collaboration between EU and EaP, and suggestions on policy-level from the participants.

Following the grant scheme and the cluster workshop, a comprehensive report on cluster development in the EaP countries will be prepared by the EaP+ team in April 2018. Recommendations will be put forward in this report in order to further develop clusters in EaP countries.

For additional information, please also see the article on the workshop published on ECCP

Activity 3.3d: Report on cluster potential in EaP and recommendations

A comprehensive report on the clusters activity and potential in EaP countries will be prepared, based on the review of the clusters in EaP, enriched with the feedback from supported EaP clusters (grants and workshop) plus complementary interviews. Emphasis will be put on recommendations for cluster development in EaP countries and their collaboration with similar structures and networks in EU.

  • Definition of the structure of the report and methodology for collecting the information;
  • Webconferences to initiate and to finalize the work.
  • Timing: second half of third year.

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