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 will review 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 will allow a better focus the next project activities (namely, the grant scheme described below).
Activity 3.3 b: Cluster grant scheme
A grant scheme will be established to finance cluster to cluster EU – EaP collaboration (for existing and emerging cluster initiatives). It will be 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. The links/membership of several EU partners to the European Cluster Observatory, the European Cluster Alliance or the European Cluster Collaboration Platform, will be instrumental for such a match-making.
- Six grants (one per EaP country) of up to 10.000 Euros will be allocated on a competitive basis and following an evaluation by the coordinator, the task leader and the relevant local partner;
- Every application should involve at least one EaP cluster (existent or emerging) and one cluster in EU; the clusters will need to respect the EU definition of clusters, and include both academia and industry actors (businesses; SMEs; business networks such as Industry associations, chambers of commerce, etc.) engaged in a collective dynamic.
- Different activities will be supported such as management teams missions from EaP to the EU cluster and vice versa; exchanges of staff to learn about the RDI cluster strategy and practices; preparation of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two clusters; organization of a common event; communication activities to inform the cluster members about opportunities of RDI collaboration, etc. The funded activities should in any case be oriented towards industry and academia RDI cooperation or cluster cooperation, excluding any trade activities.
Activity 3.3c: Funded clusters workshop
A workshop will be organized 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 will be presented and the transferability of best practices will be analyzed.
- All funded EaP cluster initiatives will participate;
- Experts from EU will attend;
- The workshop will take place in Tbilisi/GE at the end of the second year allowing presenting the results and impact of the grants (Activity 3.3b).
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.