Last week SPRI hosted and co-organised a Cluster Study Visit from Region Skåne to the Basque Country. The Swedish delegation included the directors of the Department of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Cluster Policy and RIS3 Smart Cities and Personalized Health Strategies, as well as eight cluster managers.

  Skåne Region is a Leader Innovator according to the European Regional Innovation Scorecard and its smart specialisation strategy is focused on smart materials, smart sustainable cities and personalized health. The region has a strong cluster portfolio in different areas: life-sciences, cleantech and resilient urban development, ICT, packaging, maritime industries, food, tourism and mobile communication.  

  During their visit to SPRI, Skåne officers and cluster managers were introduced to Basque cluster policy evolution and current challenges, outlining the role Basque Cluster organisations have played in the different phases, initiatives and outcomes within the Basque RIS3 priorities (Advanced Manufacturing, Energy and Biosciences-health) and niches of opportunity (Food, Ecosystems, Culture and Creative Industries and Urban habitat), and also to the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation Plan Euskadi 2020, as a comprehensive smart specialisation strategy oriented to boost economic and sustainable development. 

 Skåne officers introduced their new 2017-2021 Cluster Policy, an ambitious long term cluster support programme aimed at achieving stronger and more effective cluster initiatives by 2021, creating new value for companies and organisations in the form of innovation, knowledge, growth, solutions to social challenges, international work, and increased regional inward investment and, at the same time, ensuring sustainable financing of cluster initiatives. The delegation also expounded the Skåne smart specialisation strategy (RIS3). 

  The delegation programme included visits to the Basque Culinary Centre, a pioneer academic and research & innovation centre in the gastronomy and hospitality area, BIC Gipuzkoa, where they attended a presentation of BIND 4.0 accelerator programme for international industry 4.0 start-ups, ORKESTRA - Basque Institute of Competitiveness, the Scientific and Technological Park of Bizkaia and TECNALIA, where they visited KUBIK project, a full-scale R&D test facility in sustainable construction and energy efficiency technologies and SXXX and the Centre for Advanced Manufacturing - Aeronautics (CFAA). They also held a meeting with Invest in the Basque Country  

  Along with the visits a cross-regional cluster matchmaking session was held at SPRI, with participation of more than 20 Basque and Skåne Cluster associations from different fields, such as advanced manufacturing, automotive, cleantech, construction, energy, food, ICT, maritime industries, media & digital contents, mobility & logistics, metalworks, paper and packaging.  

  This visit has been a great opportunity to discuss and mutually learn on cluster policy and cluster support programmes, innovation and competitiveness support, RIS3 and other issues. SPRI as partner of Interreg Europe CLUSTERS3 project is glad to see this further relationship with CLUSTERIX2.0 project partner Region Skåne.