Synthesis of the survey to ClusterCOOP partners to complete the knowledge database

WP5 - Knowledge and cooperation support for clusters

Activity 5.2 Setting up of a network of Contact Points for direct and in-depth assistance for clusters

1.        Piedmont Region

1.1     Economic sectors

Piemonte Region is one of the most industrial and rich regions of Italy. It counts almost 4.3 million inhabitants, with 1.7 employees, and 125 billion € GDP . It contains major industrial centers, the main of which is Turin, home to the FIAT automobile works. The automotive sector is the first regional sector with around 14 000 employees for a turnover of 21 billion €. Other economic sectors are strongly represented such as the textile industry (with more than 1000 enterprises in that field), ICT (), life sciences, energy and green industries, chemicals and plastics (with Novamont), aerospace, mechatronics, and food products (with the Ferrero's chocolate factories). Agriculture is also a strength of the Region which produces especially in the south rice, grapes (and famous wines), fruits and milk. The region includes also many research and development centers including the FIAT research centre, and four universities including the Politecnico di Torino, and the Università di Torino, one of the most important universities in Italy.

1.2     Innovation and cluster policies and programmes

Piemonte regional development policy is implemented mainly through the Structural Funds, and aims at improving and steering Piemonte competitiveness and innovation capacities, broadening technology transfer to SMEs, promoting long term environmental sustainability while assuring economic growth, increasing production from renewable sources, energy efficiency, development of distracted areas, re-qualification of deprived urban areas with a view to social inclusion.

Piemonte Region, starting form 2006, also developed a research and innovation policy aiming at promoting and supporting research and innovation and the consolidation of the regional research system. It provides the regional authority with a useful governance structure to ensure that the financial investments deliver effective regional outcomes.

The ERDF Regional Operational Programme is the main implementing program of the regional development policy. Under the 2007-2013 ERDF Operational Programme 48% of funds focuses on boosting competitiveness through research and innovation, 26% of funds on reducing carbon emissions through the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency, 26% of funds on enhancing the attractiveness of the region with a special focus on cities, the environment and culture.

Under the 2007-2013 ERDF Operational Programme, Piemonte has put in place, starting from 2008, a cluster programme called “Poli di Innovazione”.

The cluster programme budget amounts to 90 million euro. These funds are dedicated to the establishment and animation structure of the clusters and (for the largest part) to fund research and innovation cooperation projects between the members of these clusters. In total, it has accredited 12 managing authorities of 12 innovation clusters through three calls for proposals asking for the presentation of the clusters as well as their annual programmes in terms of research and innovation projects.

Factors that could assure the clusters success in the future are the following:

  • all clusters are focused on specific industrial sectors and collect important players in their field;
  • the actors involved in the measure are highly specialised in specific industrial activities;
  • many clusters can rely on scientific and technology parks (as managing authorities), research infrastructures and high level R&D&I service providers.

ERDF funding to clusters will finish at the end of the present programming period and no clear perspectives are still in place for the next one. The financial sustainability of Piemonte innovation clusters is now the key issue and, to this aim, it will be essential ensure collaboration among cluster managing authorities and cluster members at local/regional level, the creation of positive externalities and economies of scale, to generate added value and guarantee market access to Piemonte products and services.

More information can be found at:

2.        Hungary

2.1     Economic sectors

Hungary is one of the most developed countries of the Central Europe area. It counts around 10 million inhabitants and has a GDP of 155 billion euro [1] . Its main economic sectors are heavy industry (mining, metallurgy, textile, machine and steel production, which have been losing importance since the past two decades), energy production, mechanical engineering, chemicals (plastic production), food industry (125 000 employees and 7.4 billion euro turnover) and automobile production (with General Motors, Mercedes and Audi factories, 80 000 employees and 13 billion euro turnover). More innovative sectors such as ICT (well settled with 55 000 employees and large companies such as GE, Ericsson...), pharmaceuticals, biotech, and green industries, are also represented, mainly in the South Great Plain region which is one of the most innovative regions of Hungary. Tourism is also an important sector, employing more than 300 000 people and generating a turnover of 4 billion euro in 2008.

2.2     Innovation and cluster policies and programmes

The previous Hungarian government has adopted the "Science-Technology and Innovation Policy Strategy" in 2007 covering the 2007-2013 period, and supporting the main innovative economic sectors of the country (ICT and electronics, machinery and automotive, pharmaceuticals, chemical industry, food industry, innovative services, green industry). The new government should adopt a new innovation policy in 2012.

The Hungarian government has also developed the Cluster Development Programme in the framework of the New Szechenyi Plan (the economic programme of the Hungarian government aiming at the creation of a million new jobs in Hungary). This programme targets SMEs with good employment expansion potential as well as innovative companies that are able to carry out innovation projects in co-operation with other companies. Since 2011, it has been managed by MAG, the Hungarian Economic Development Centre. It has a budget of 600 million euro funding joint innovation projects of cluster members and personnel costs of the cluster management organization (depending on the different calls for proposals). The Pole Programme introduced the Accredited Innovation Cluster label. The label could and still can be acquired in a separate call, which does not involve direct financial subsidy for the cluster. By mid-2010 64 joint innovation projects have been launched by member companies of accredited clusters. By mid-2010 25 clusters received the accredited status. The total number of members of these clusters was 728, of which there were 554 SMEs. The aggregate revenue of the cluster member companies amounted to EUR 10.7 billion, which is approx. 10% of the GDP. The aggregate number of employees in the accredited clusters reached 83,738, which is 2.2% of the total Hungarian labour force. These results show that together the accredited clusters represented a fair share of the Hungarian economy and they jointly had an influence on the performance of the Hungarian economy.

More information can be found at:

3.        Czech Republic

3.1     Economic sectors

Czech Republic is one of the most stable and prosperous countries of the Central Europe area. It counts more than 10 million inhabitants and a GDP of 173 billion euro [2] . Its main economic sectors are ICT with around 220 000 jobs, automotive with 140 000 jobs and Škoda Auto which is one of the largest car manufacturers in Central Europe, electronics, engineering and electrical engineering,. Other innovative sectors such as aerospace, environmental technologies, nanotechnologies, are also represented.

3.2     Innovation and cluster policies and programmes

Czech Republic has adopted in 2006 a Regional Development Strategy for the period 2007-2013 aiming at increasing economic and environmental potential, competitiveness and social level of regions to a level comparable with developed regions of Europe. It has also adopted in 2005 a National cluster strategy for the period 2005-2008 with the following objectives:

  • to use clusters to interconnect the resources of the Ministries and the regions of the Czech Republic;
  • to improve the effectiveness of communications with regions, tertiary education institutions and the private sector;
  • to ensure the identification and support of sectors and branches with the necessary growth potential and will to enhance their competitiveness through cooperation and innovation;
  • to help SME groups work together;
  • to create a framework for the analysis, monitoring and evaluation of the performance of cluster initiatives, and their impact on the regional and national economy;
  • to prepare a National Cluster Study in the Czech Republic.

At the same time, the Ministry of industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, with the help of CzechInvest, has put in place a cluster programme to support the establishment and the development of clusters at regional and cross-regional level. The programme has consisted of two phases: a cluster mapping carried out by facilitators (agencies, regions…) and the establishment and development of cluster organisations. A total budget 9 million euro has been dedicated these activities, including the funding of projects between cluster members and personnel costs for cluster organizations through. In total, 178 projects have been developed by the members of the clusters representing 68 million euro in terms of R&D expenditures. A similar programme with a bigger budget (90 million euro) was launched in 2008 to cover the period 2008-2013. One call of this programme launched in 2010 enabled additional financial support (500 000 euro per project) to cluster transnational cooperation, i.e. clusters participating on international research and development programmes.

More information can be found at:

4.        Slovakia

4.1     Economic sectors

With 5 million inhabitants and a GDP of 100 billion euro [3] , Slovakia is a relatively small country in comparison with other Central Europe countries. However, it has recently been characterized by sustained high economic growth. Although Slovakia's GDP comes mainly from the tertiary (services) sector, the industrial sector also plays an important role within its economy. The main industry sectors are car manufacturing and electrical engineering. With Volkswagen's, PSA Peugeot Citroen's and Kia Motors' plants, the automotive sector represents almost 60 000 jobs, and since 2007, Slovakia has been the world's largest producer of cars per capita. From electrical engineering companies, Sony has a factory at Nitra for LCD TV manufacturing, Samsung at Galanta for computer monitors and television sets manufacturing. Other sectors are also represented: Chemical & Pharmaceutical (with BASF), Food (with Kraft, Heineken, Nestlé), ICT (with Hewlett Packard), Wood, Construction, and Metallurgy.

4.2     Innovation and cluster policies and programmes

Slovakia has adopted in 2011 an innovation policy to set up support mechanisms for the creation and development of innovation structures, innovation businesses, partnership and cooperation among businesses, universities and research institutes in the fields of research, development and innovation, and the establishment of conditions for improving Slovakia’s competitiveness. No cluster policy neither cluster programme has been put in place so far.

5.        Slovenia

5.1     Economic sectors

Slovenia has a developed economy and is per capita the richest of Central Europe area states. It is also the smallest with 2 million inhabitants and a GDP of 47 billion euro. Almost two thirds of people are employed in services, and over one third in industry and construction. The main industries are motor vehicles, electric and electronic equipment, machinery, pharmaceuticals, plastic products, and metal products.

5.2     Innovation and cluster policies and programmes

Slovenia has put in place an innovation policy in 2011 aiming at reaching high quality research in the public sector, setting measures to increase the innovation capacities of the economy, and to enhancing the capacities for research and development. This policy targets 1% GDP for public funding of research and innovation till 2012 and 1,5% GDP by 2020. 60% of the public funds will be directed towards the business sector.

The Ministry of Economy has also put in place in 2002 a programme of to support entrepreneurship and competitiveness over the period 2002-2006, Republic of Slovenia, including a sub-programme on cluster development. The aim of this sub-programme was to stimulate cooperation and networking, to promote the cooperation culture and new business models leading to specialization, higher added value and thus higher competitiveness. Different measures and activities were developed to support cooperation in production/value chain, support for cluster initiatives as well as technology and marketing networks. This programme had a budget of 12, 4 million euro, which represented 15% of the total Ministry of Economy budget for the period 2000-2003. It funded cluster animation structure and cooperation projects between the members of the clusters, through call for proposals mechanism. This cluster programme served as a reference in terms of cluster policy among new European Member States.

6.       City of Rezsow

6.1     Economic sectors

Rzeszów is the capital of Podkarpackie Voivodeship. The town is the cente of the Rzeszów’s Metropolitan Area and the economic centre of south-eastern Poland. Since 2006 Rzeszów has been growing every year. In Rzeszów there are more than 20 000 companies, which are serviced by over 800 financial and business institutions. WSK “PZL-Rzeszów S.A.”, which manufacture plane engines, is the leading company, the avant-garde of technological progress and the largest employer of the city. Apart from traditional trades, also electronic and IT industry are developing quickly in Rzeszów. ASSECO Poland S.A. is currently the largest IT company in Poland and one of the leaders in Europe.

Podkarpacie with 2,1 mln inhabitants and and 13 billion € GDP 1 may be considered the economically strongest region in eastern Poland. Industry, the main developmental factor in the region, plays an important role (due to generated profit and share of production sold). The dominant industries are the agricultural and food industries, the machine industry, including aircraft and household appliances, and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Currently, around 90% of Polish aviation is concentrated in Podkarpackie region.

The innovative potential of the region is based primarily on research and development activities of the Rzeszów University of Technology (research on, among others, machines construction and aviation, modern technologies, plastics, new solutions related to automation and control). Despite the fact that, comparing with the rest of Poland, Podkarpacie can boast a reasonably robust scientific sector, it is the enterprises sector that plays a major role in shaping of the innovative potential of the region. The majority of expenditure on R&D activity is financed by the enterprises sector (69,4%), followed by higher education (28,2%). A very high involvement of enterprises sector is the highest among all Polish regions.

6.2     Innovation and cluster policies and programmes

Poland has adopted in 2006 a Strategy for Increasing the Competitiveness of the Economy, based on the concept of Knowledge Economy. It targets the following domains: education, science, research and development, high technology industries, business services related to the Knowledge Economy and the sector of information society services.

The region of Rezsow has also adopted a cluster programme in the framework of the ERDF Operationnal Programme 2007-2013 (Priority 5. Diffusion of Innovation, Activity 5.1 Support for development of supra-regional cooperative relations). Its aim is to strengthen the competitiveness of enterprises by supporting the level, of cooperation between enterprises and business institutions, including research units. This programme is put in place by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development with a budget of 20 million euro concerning the first call, and 35 million euro concerning the second call. This programme targets in priority SMEs and funds investments, research and development activities, consultancy, training, and international cooperation. More information can be found at:•



[1] Figure 2010

[2] Figures 2011

[3] Figures 2011