Project summary

ClusterFY aims to improve regional and national policy instruments seeking to intensify Key Enabling Technologies (KET's)-related clusterization processes, as well as fostering interregional cooperation between and among clusters and business networks and encourage their integration into innovative value chains. These developments advance the implementation of regional innovation strategies.

Clusters, Innovation and Smart Specialization

Although SMEs are generally open to innovation, it proves to be difficult for SMEs to actually develop their innovative ideas. This can be due to risk-avoiding behavior, as well as a lack of knowledge, time and resources. Clusters, a concentration of interrelated businesses, stimulate and facilitate these SMEs in forming long-term strategic, cross-sectoral and cross-regional partnerships that can help boost their innovative ideas. In cooperation with the right partners, SMEs are able to develop competitive products and services and integrate into regional and interregional value chains.

Clusters can create an experimental environment that allows for the development of innovative solutions with societal impact. Therefore, clusters are crucial in the creation and promotion of innovation and can be seen as a catalyst for structural change. To support this development, governments can make use of regional or national policy instruments in order to facilitate clusterization processes and to improve cluster policies. Together with knowledge institutes, businesses and civil society, clusters contribute to the development of new ideas or new specializations, which can grow out to become innovations and, in the end even, new economic strengths. As such, clusters can play a key role in the implementation of regional innovation strategies.

The ClusterFY Project

Interreg Europe’s ClusterFY underlines the importance and potential of clusterization processes – and especially in KET-related sectors. Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) are central to strengthening Europe's capacity for industrial renewal and innovation. A consortium consisting of eight partner regions will investigate how EU programming of structural funding might be optimally linked to EU programming on clusterization.

In close cooperation with regional stakeholders from the quadruple helix (Q4), the partners of ClusterFY aim to develop recommendations on the improvement of regional and national policy instruments (such as ERDF) that address the intensification of clusterization policies in KET-related sectors. Furthermore, ClusterFY intends to foster interregional cooperation among and between clusters and business networks, as well as encourage their integration into innovative (interregional) value chains.

ClusterFY and Europe

Strong clusters are key in the implementation of regional innovation strategies and in furthering entrepreneurial discovery processes. Cooperation between regional Q4-stakeholders adds to the development of solutions for the societal problems of Europe at large, thereby contributing to EU2020’s goal of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.




from 1 Jan 2017
to 31 Dec 2021

Research and innovation

What policy instruments does the project address?

The OP Priority axis 1. Strengthening Research and Development and Innovation, Measure INOKLASTER will support the operational activities of cluster and it's members that are needed in order to facilitate an effective clusters' performance. The measure is contributing to the implementation of the goal "To increase the activities of Reseach and Development and Innovation performance in private sector". It seeks to promote the cross-sectorial and international clusterization and networking. Actions like preparation of R&D and innovation strategies, foreinsights, market research, trainings, marketing, cluster members' cooperation, attraction of new members, integration into international networks, etc. Cluster's investment into R&D and innovation infrastructure will be supported as well. The actions are based on the need to facilitate the ecosystem of R&D and innovation and make it compatible and potentially interconnected with other regions/countries. Clusters are the platforms that enable their members to integrate the innovation activities into new innovative business and collaborations interregionally and internationally. All the operational clusterization processes are promoted and implemented only on national (loca)l level. Still, more focus and concrete actions is needed to be taken in order to increase the competitiveness of cluster and its members' competencies to innovate using the KETs and cross-sectorial approach, collaborate between the regions and internationally.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Innovation Agency ‘until 31/10/2022 Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA)’

The Policy instrument addressed is OP Priority axe 1: Innovation and within this priority the specific objective “Fostering knowledge development” and the following activity of this objective: “Knowledge development and research by businesses working in partnership with knowledge institutions or other businesses”. OP for NN and the policy instrument addressed is directly related to the RIS3 and is used for RIS3 implementation. The Northern Netherlands (NNLs) RIS3 aims at broadening and connecting (international) value chains, by creating ‘cross overs’ between sectors/clusters and technologies. It supports clusters, SME’s and knowledge institutes to invest in new (international) chains, products and markets. The Policy instrument addresses this issue by: fostering collaboration, between businesses and between businesses and knowledge institutes; improving the access to knowledge, and improving the effectiveness and accessibility of support measures. The knowledge available within the region is insufficient to come to solutions, so cross-border collaboration plays a key role in this respect. New partnerships are envisaged to be developed, and existing partnerships are encouraged to be extended. The policy instrument aims to strengthen the knowledge base of SME’s to ensure that they are better equipped to exploit existing knowledge and generate new knowledge. It will expand the innovation system and enable more SME’s to incorporate innovation within their operation. 

Which partners are working on this?
  • Northern Netherlands Provinces Alliance

The North-Mid Sweden regional progamme has focus on four areas, 1) strengthen research, technical development and innovation, one main objective is to increase the amount of innovative SME. 2) Increase the access to, use of and the quality of information and communication technology, 3) Increase competitiveness in SME, the objective is to increase the amount of new companies with growth potential, 4) support the change to a CO2 free economy. The policy instrument 1 and 3 which the project focus on needs improvement in how to utilise the multigovernance levels municipality, region and national for support and catalyser in developing new and innovative companies with the power to grow internationally. The utilisation of national and regional cluster in developing the smart specialisation strategy both regionally and in collaboration with partners in EU is an area in need of improvement. The long term aim is to create more business operations, increase business expertise and knowledge based innovation, increase linkages between national, regional and local policymakers in different country

Which partners are working on this?
  • Municipality of Hudiksvall

The instrument is funded from the Smart Growth Operational Programme (ERDF and the national budget). The Instrument is divided in 2 stages. Stage I - the National Key Cluster Contest (NKC) is organised by the Ministry of Economic Development while Secretariat of the Evaluation Committee is provided by PARP. NKCs can be identified by their significance to the Polish economy and international competitiveness. To obtain the status, the cluster has to fulfil certain criteria related to critical mass, development potential, innovation capacity, internal and external cooperation and the coordinator’s experience and achievements. NKCs are eligible to apply for funding of their projects related to international activities (Stage II). Main objective is to increase capabilities of enterprises operating in these clusters to go international. The rationale is to concentrate efforts and resources on a small number of best clusters which have real competences and resources to innovate and achieve competitive edge in a global marketplace. Support can be granted to cluster organisations for the purchase of services aimed at launching products on foreign markets, especially the high-tech ones, employment of cross-cutting technologies to innovate, and/or facilitation of international activities of cluster members, networking, knowledge exchange with foreign partners, international collaboration and increasing international visibility and integration into international innovation value chain

Which partners are working on this?
  • Polish Agency for Enterprise Development

This policy instrument is addressed by the Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020 to promoting technology transfer that intends to support development of networks, links and synergies between businesses, research and higher education. The specific objective is “Increasing innovation in companies by supporting innovation and technology transfer entities in the areas of smart specialization”.

South Muntenia Regional Development Agency (SM RDA), due to its quality of Intermediate Body for ROP 2014-2020, is dirctly involved into the improvement this policy instrument.

The results expected to be achieved through the support provided by this policy instrument is the creation and development of innovation and technology transfer entities, in accordance with the principle of regional smart specialization. The intense to transfer the research results into commercial innovative applications will contribute to the growth rate of diffusion of technological progress in the market and in the society, in generally, thus contributing to the implementation of EU 2020 to developing a knowledge economy.

This investment policy tool will support the specific activities of the development of Innovation and Technology Transfer (ITT) actions related to the creation, modernization and extension of ITT entities, acquisition of specific technological services, including consultancy specializing in business and creation and updating of trading platforms and demand for intellectual property

Which partners are working on this?
  • South Muntenia Regional Development Agency (SM RDA)

OP is closely related with (built according to) the RIS3 for 2014-2020. The addressed Priority 1: “Promotion of research, development and innovation" includes promotion of relationships and development of synergies between companies and research centers; technology transfer; networking; clusters and open innovation.

Specific objective: Promotion of companies’ leadership in research and innovation activities; creation and consolidation of innovative companies. Measures: Public-private partnership on innovation and knowledge transfer; Cooperation program including all the actor of the regional science and technology system; Funding instruments (public and private) oriented to the development of industrial RDI projects. Specific objective: Knowledge transfer and cooperation between companies and research centers. Measures: Creation of cooperation networks between the actors of the regional science, technology and innovation system; Improvement of coordination and collaboration between companies and research centers. Clusters could provide a response to some of the challenges identified in the OP & RIS3. Clusters play the essential role to build the Regional RDI System. By more focused actions in to the development of “real” clusters (via either a legal framework or the instruments to articulate a truly co-operation environment), the region will take the necessary steps towards a stronger RDI ecosystem and be able to establish international relationships to boost the economy

Which partners are working on this?
  • University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM)

Scheme to promote industrial cluster organisations supports activities to increasing the competitiveness of clusters' members. The instrument is focused formally on well-established clusters, particularly on high-tech oriented and internationally well-established, operating in less developed region. Another resources, approximately 30 M EUR is planned from ERDF to support cluster organizations and their development.

The following activities are supported with the scheme: training organized by industrial clusters or education of its' members; the presentation of industrial clusters and their members locally and abroad through participation in exhibitions; development of industrial clusters strategies, expert consultation activities; clusters participation in international projects and networks.

The project could contribute to the improvement of this policy instrument by representing a comprehensive approach and tackling the systematically development of the clusters. This improvement will allow to seek the sustainability of clusters development.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency 

Operational Programme of Central Macedonia 2014-2020 Investment priority 1“Strengthening research, technological development and innovation”, priority 1b2: Creation of permanent cluster mechanisms between research and business and among businesses to promote of applied research and for the knowledge and technology transfer. The OP aims to boost economic development, create job opportunities in the Region. It should create jobs and help SMEs to become more competitive and innovation-driven. EU funding contributes to meeting the requirements of the EU as regards greenhouse gas reduction and increase energy efficiency. Investment priority 1b2 aims at improving the ability of designing, foreseeing and managing technology, implementing innovation strategy of the region. Priority 1b2 aims also at reinforcing the connections among triple helix actors for the promotion of technology and the exchange of knowledge. Actions foreseen: 1. support of the creation of cluster mechanism for designing of framework to collaborate with the industry to define research / technology and innovation priorities in line with RIS3; 2. creation of one stop-liaison office among academic and research organizations for facilitating the identification of research teams, R&D results, infrastructure etc. Still, to increase the competence of these clusters to innovate, more focus is needed on using a cross-sectorial approach, KETs, and interregional collaboration

Which partners are working on this?
  • Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH)