6 Catalan clusters have raised more than half a million euros from the European Commission to develop innovation projects
6 Catalan clusters have raised 519,000 euros from the European Commission to carry out innovation projects in Catalonia in the fields of lighting, food, packaging, smart cities, mobility and sports. This is the 2019 balance of the COSME Cluster Excellence line, which in total has had a budget of 3.6 million euros and which the Catalan clusters have accessed with the support of ACCIÓ -the agency for the competitiveness of the company of the Department of Business and Knowledge-.
In this way, Catalonia got 14.4% of the total budget of the aid line, although it represents 1.5% of the population of the European Union. According to the director of the ACCIÓ Clusters unit, Joan Martí, “this highlights once again the strength of Catalan clusters in the European context and is a good example of the fact that Catalonia's cluster policy is aligned with the recommendations and programs promoted by the European Commission. In fact, 22 Catalan clusters have submitted proposals this 2019 to access European funds, "the highest participation figure in history, with a very high and above-average success rate usual". "It is key to attract significant financing to promote transformative projects while generating stable international connections”, he says.
The six Catalan clusters that have accessed these funds - six of the 29 clusters that are currently part of the Catalunya Clústers ACCIÓ program- are the Digital Cluster, the Foodservice Cluster, the Packaging Cluster, the Cluster d'Il·luminació de Catalunya (CICAT), Railgrup and INDESCAT, the Catalan cluster of the sports industry. For two years they will carry out the following projects:
- Safe Smart Food (The Packaging Cluster and the Foodservice Cluster): The Packaging Cluster and the Foodservice Cluster jointly lead this initiative with a consortium of five European food clusters to promote the food and packaging ecosystem on an international scale with the aim of making the companies, that form part of these entities, more competitive. The consortium will work on seven aspects that converge in the two sectors: food technology; smart products; food security; sustainability; smart packaging; end users and the last mile.
- Brilliant (CICAT): Cúster d’Il·luminació de Catalunya, together with five European clusters and the European lighting alliance ELCA, will develop the COSME ClusterXchange platform with the aim of increasing the skills of 14 clusters. The project promotes learning and networking between clusters and SMEs within the framework of lighting, construction and smart cities
- SmartCTClusters (Digital Cluster): project based on the creation of a collaborative network between five European clusters in the field of smart cities to create new business opportunities among the companies involved, especially in the mobility, energy, environmental and ICT sectors.
- EXXTRA (Railgrup): 17 European clusters in the field of railway mobility that jointly represent 2,000 SMEs from all over Europe will share best practices internationally to transfer them to companies in each region of this sector, among which there are Catalan ones. The objective is to promote technological cooperation between SMEs from different countries and boost access by these companies to opportunities for innovation and international contracts.
- SmartSports4GoodLife (INDESCAT): project coordinated by INDESCAT, with the participation of other clusters and European entities, that will allow more than 50 exchanges between 100 companies and agents of the sports industry in Catalonia, France, Hungary and the Netherlands, to promote collaboration agreements and new business opportunities. The initiative focuses on facing the challenges of the sports industry in the coming years, such as digitization or sustainability, through the interaction of sport with technology, energy efficiency, tourism or health.
What is a cluster? A cluster is a group of companies (startups, SMEs and multinationals) and agents from the environment (universities and technology centers) of a certain economic area that share resources, generate synergies and project internationally. It is an instrument that enables the competitiveness of its members to be improved through the development of joint transformative projects and the definition of strategic challenges for their sector. In Catalonia, clusters represent 30% of GDP (74,000 million euros in aggregate turnover) and generate more than 300,000 jobs. Currently 29 clusters are part of the Catalunya Clusters ACCIÓ program, an initiative promoted to accompany Catalan clusters to focus their strategy, train their cluster managers, co-finance strategic projects and organize trips to reference ecosystems to do international benchmarking and close collaboration projects between Catalan clusters or with international entities, among other initiatives. -