"Participating at the “New models for innovation”-Conference in Clermont-Ferrand last December was a great opportunity for me to get in contact with international representatives of other clusters organisations and innovation & technology transfer institutions. Hearing about others’ approaches (e.g. Ideon Science Park) to face the challenges in striving innovation forward was just underlining once again the importance of both cooperation and trust as the basis to easier and quicker identify the challenges.  Furthermore, the conference offered us the opportunity to give an introduction in the development of the Lower Austrian RTI Strategy and how 3-D-printing became one of our priority topics as well as shortly highlighting our Cornet-project AM4Industry in the mechatronics cluster. The exchange with other participants during the round-table discussions and informal talks proved the common believe that innovation can be fostered by a closer communication and cooperation between research and the market/businesses as well as between big companies and small start-ups, enabling all actors to focus on their competencies adopting an optimistic “why not”-attitude."  

Benjamin Losert, Project Manager, Plastics- and Mechatronics-Cluster, ecoplus. The Business Agency of Lower Austria

"The Strategic Initiative Materials (SIM) in Ghent is an excellent example for the leverage effect that can be reached by a joint strategy and all forces pulling in the same direction: basic research capacities at the University Ghent, 7 research centres and large companies involved, complemented by small companies “with knifes between their teeth” and coordinated in a (spearhead) cluster. An important asset is the involvement of the complete value chain with the common goal to reduce time to market. "

Harald Bleier, Cluster Manager Plastics- and Mechatronics-Cluster, ecoplus. The Business Agency of Lower Austria

"As a cluster manager it has been really interesting to partecipate to the ClusteriX 2.0 project meeting in Bruxelles, it allowed me to understand how important European policies are and how these are implemented in other countries, with concrete insight on cluster policies. Let's say it was like opening a door to better understand that context of all strategic documents and reports, making the strategic objectives more concrete and achievable. I had the opportunity to meet other cluster managers and face up with them their regional strategies. It was inspiring and enlightening to see how well embedded our regional activities are with strategic policies, been able to see the bigger picture. I would suggest to spend a little more time during speakers introduction, in order to better understand their role and from which perspective they present the good practices. As far as the study visit, being the coordinator for the ecosystem food is was nice to see the approach of Pilot Food and how it was born from the regional flanders strategic activities. This was extremely interesting thinking of the new NOI Techpark in Bolzano - opening fall 2017 - and we will discuss that with our stakeholders. I was also extremely surprised with the approach of the two Innosup projects presented, and it was very important to talk and discuss with other colleagues and to compare our activities. I'm really satisfied with these experience, because more you know the more possibilities you have to find a correct approach to innovation and cluster support. I'm curious about the future implementation of the activity plan in Phase 2, I think that phase will be crucial for all regions."

Ben Schneider, Ecosystem Food Coordinator, IDM South Tyrol