Researcher Hugo Hollanders co-hosted the launch workshop of the new ‘European Observatory for Clusters and Industrial Change’ (EOCIC) on 22 January 2018. Held in Brussels, the workshop gathered around 40 participants including 10 invited experts, 18 representatives from the European Commission, plus consortium partners.
This EC-funded project aims to help Europe’s regions and countries design better and more evidence-based cluster policies and initiatives. The observatory is designed to support:
- Industrial modernisation;
- Entrepreneurship in emerging industries with growth potential;
- SMEs’ access to clusters and internationalisation activities; and
- More strategic inter-regional collaboration and investments in the implementation of smart specialisation strategies.
The ultimate goal is to provide enterprises, particularly SMEs, with more favourable regional ecosystems. In general this means giving them better support with innovation and entrepreneurship, and in particular helping them adapt to industrial change while reaping growth opportunities.
Set to run from October 2017 to October 2019 the observatory will, among other things:
- Provide statistical and trend analysis of clusters;
- Identify favourable framework conditions and bottlenecks for the development of clusters and industrial modernisation;
- Provide customised policy advice to 12 selected regions with a specific problem or societal challenge, so they can become future models for other regions with similar concerns;
- Provide advisory support services to European Strategic Cluster Partnerships; and
- Support mutual cluster policy learning and transnational cooperation.
The observatory consortium includes: Deloitte Belgium, Centre for Industrial Studies (CSIL), Fraunhofer ISI, MERIT (Maastricht University), Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI), Strasbourg Conseil, Valdani Vicari & Associati (VVA), and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
Flickr / Natalio