The European Clusters Alliance (ECA) is the common voice for European clusters, which account for almost 61.8 million jobs across the different countries. The association joins 15 national associations of clusters and more than 800 clusters organisations on European level. These make up for 123,000 of our most innovative businesses and over 10,000 universities, research centres, and public institutions. Furthermore, ECA has representatives from Italy, Ireland, and Greece – countries without national clusters networks – who serve as ambassadors.
Why is an European alliance of clusters needed?
The European Clusters Alliance is a collaborative forum that channels the clusters’ interests, needs and opportunities at European and global level. It creates a cluster community that has the most direct connections to the cluster managers’ reality, challenges, and activities. The European Clusters Alliance connects the clusters with European institution on the one hand, and among each other on the other hand. Thus, ECA facilitates connections and solutions to the challenges we face. The alliance positions industrial clusters as key agents in the European innovative ecosystem for the development and growth of our economy and competitiveness. ECA has a close relationship and trust-based cooperation with DG GROW, European Commission. The two entities engage in regular contact and work together on common activities.
How does the European Clusters Alliance support clusters?
ECA has set itself ambitious objectives which allow for concrete actions:
Promote fast and agile inter-cluster collaboration at European level, reinforce the activities of the cluster network, and share good practices
Foster the internationalisation of the cluster members and promote a better knowledge of the European clusters
Build joint recommendations and write position papers to public administrations at national, regional, and EU level
Cooperate with other networks and organisations that support clusters at European and global level
Study, promote and defend collective interests of the cluster community
Obtain and promote through collective actions the official and representative statutory recognition by European and international institutions
In 2020, the European Clusters Alliance had face-to-face-meeting with the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the European Commission. ECA published position papers on the role of clusters in the COVID-19 recovery instrument NextGenerationEU (January), clusters and the Interregional Innovation Investment (September), and the recognition of Industrial Clusters in the European Recovery Initiatives (October). Furthermore, ECA collaborated with other networks to give a Joint Statement on EU Interregional Innovation Investments and has joined the new EU Pact for Skills.
How has ECA supported the cluster community during the COVID-19 crisis?
In March 2020, the European Clusters Alliance created the European Alliance Against Coronavirus. This voluntary alliance is a new network across Europe which joins social and industrial clusters with private and public agents and institutions, uniting more than 1,100 experts. It moves with the dynamic of clusters and allows an unprecedented quick exchange on European level. It was born out of the necessity to inform on the situation on the ground, coordinate actions and good practices. For many months, the European Alliance Against Coronavirus met virtually on a daily basis to exchange information and suggestions on needs in the ecosystems, best practices and actions at local/regional/national
level, examples of collaboration and projects, European policies and funding schemes, national/regional policies and programmes, and blueprints for cross-sectorial solutions. There are more than 160 session available to the cluster community.
For this initiative, ECA’s President Antonio Novo received the Special Award for EU Cluster Mobilisation 2020 awarded by the European Commission.
ECA was entrusted to form part of the EU Rapid Alert Function to detect disruptions in European value and supply chains. Under contract with the European Commission and in collaboration with REI – Reindustria Innovazione, ECA analysed disruptions in European value and supply chains over 14 weeks. The alliance looked at evidence given by clusters and other entities across Europe, the stages of value chains affected and the geographical impact, as well as the duration of the disruption and possible solutions. Overall, the team identified 84 disruptions and disruptive trends in 14 industrial ecosystems and issued proposals for further actions. ECA submitted weekly reports and a final report to DG GROW, which supported the European Commission in their policymaking for the recovery phase. The final report is publicly available.
With an international team, the European Clusters Alliance moderated the COVID-19 Response Forum of the European Clusters Collaboration Platform. The forum served as a place of exchange for the cluster community on best practices, needs and offers, news and contacts.
Who are the members of the European Clusters Alliance?
Who can become a member?
The European Clusters Alliance thrives towards a representation of all 27 EU Member States. We are happy to establish contact with country representatives that are not yet member of ECA.
President European Clusters Alliance
Antonio Novo Guerreroantonio.novo [at] clustersalliance.eu
LinkedIn: @European Clusters Alliance