Clusters“Clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected companies, specialized suppliers, service providers, firms in related industries, and associated institutions in particular fields that compete but also cooperate”.
Michael E. Porter in On Competition (1998)
“Cluster initiatives are organized efforts to increase the growth and competitiveness of clusters within a region, involving cluster firms, government and/or the research community”.
Örjan Sölvell, Göran Lindqvist & Christian Ketels in The Cluster Initiative Greenbook (2003)
Clusters are becoming an increasingly important for policy development in areas related to competitiveness and innovations. The Innobarometer 2006 on “cluster’s role in facilitating innovation in Europe” confirmed that companies situated in clusters are more innovative and finally more competitive than companies outside the clusters.
In its conclusion of December 2006 the Competitiveness Council of European Union identified clusters as one of nine priorities. The Council’s conclusions describe clustering as a priority area for actions to be taken in support of innovations.
European Commission emphasises the relevance of clusters to achieve the Lisbon goal to become by 2010, “the most competitive and dynamic knowledgebased economy in the world” and established a High-Level Advisory Group on Clusters and supports several activities in this field under the PRO INNO Europe initiative (e.g. European Cluster Alliance) and the Europe INNOVA initiative (e.g. European Cluster Observatory).
In 2008 the European Cluster Memorandum and the Commission Communication for development of world- class clusters was adopted.
National and regional governments recognised the potential of clusters as a driver of regional development policy. By taking determinedactions public authorities can significantly improve cluster development. This results in strengthening local economies, creating new jobs and attracting new investors. This is why many cluster initiatives have recently been launched. Some countries have included cluster policy in national development plans, while others pursue regional policy models. It has become clear that only decisive measures can strengthen regional clusters and lead to a successful regional policy.
Recently 38 % of all European employees work in industries that concentrate regionally – in clusters. Many studies have found that companies within clusters achieve higher levels of productivity and innovation and that clusters are environments start ups exhibits higher survival rates and growth.
Clusters are directly connected to prosperity and they are a central part of many economic strategy.
* PRO INNO Europe Initiative fosters trans-national cooperation in the area of innovation policy development. This initiative supports establishing of the Cluster Alliance as open platform for supporting and directing development of the national and regional policies with the aim of creating the world’s leading clusters in Europe.
* European Cluster Observatory is a service created to inform policymakers, cluster practitioners and researchers and innovative enterprises about European clusters and national and regional policies and programmes related to innovation and clusters; in addition cluster library offers case materials and various articles on clusters. The evolution of 38 cluster categories in 200 regions is currently being monitored.
* ERAWATCH is a service created to provide information on national and regional innovation policies, actors, organizations and programmes.
* Europe INNOVA Cluster Networks includes 11 trans-national cluster networks with more than 200 stakeholders from the public and private sector in the area of the traditional and high-tech industries. The objective of this network is to strengthen the cluster cooperation through joint projects, enable development of new methods for cluster management, and propose measures for improvement of the cluster development policies.
* Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7), under the Capacities category - Regions of Knowledge, enables strengthening of the research potential of European regions through development of regional "research-driven clusters", associating universities, research centers, enterprises and supporting institutions.
* Europa InterCluster, the European agency for cluster cooperation, is a bottom-up initiative originating from a few cluster organizations. It is a non-profit body whose full membership is restricted to clusters. Europa InterCluster was created in February 2007, after a consultation period which ended with the organization of a seminar in Brussels in partnership with Eurada, attended by one hundred clusters and officials responsible for cluster policy. www.intercluster.eu
* The European Cluster Collaboration Platform provides online quality information and networking support for clusters (organisations and members) aiming to improve their performance and increase their competitiveness through the stimulation of trans-national and international cooperation. www.cluster-collaboration.eu
Foundation “Cluster Information and Communication Technologies „ is part of European cluster networks. The cluster maintains very good relationship with many European and world clusters and cluster initiatives. ICT Cluster is registered in European Cluster Observatory and European Cluster Collaboration Platform, as well as research-driven cluster at FP7 database. The organization is active in many activities initiated on a European level connected to regional development, ICT sector, cluster excellence and SME promotion.
Experts of ICT Cluster are speakers and participants in the most outstanding European conferences and events dedicated to cluster policy and development.