Summary and objectives
Within the project “Future materials and products for advanced smart packaging” (AdPack) a packaging-, food-, nano-, plasmatechnology- and plastic cluster together with affiliated entities focused in different interrelated sectors will join their competences and support the establishment of an European Strategic Cluster Partnership (ESCP) in the emerging industry of advanced packaging, which has been defined as an emerging industry by the European Cluster Observatory. By focusing on the advanced packaging emerging industry, which is interrelated with nearly every industry sector, the ESCP will aim to have an impact on European employment, growth, competitiveness and innovation. Additionally, this ESCP will encompass a range of key enabling technologies, such as nanotechnology, new materials or photonics, that will contribute to achieve this goal. Moreover, the consortium has accounted for the concept of smart specialisation, with several consortium partners focusing on sectors that are a priority in their respective regions/ countries.
The packaging industry faces various challenges. There is a strong need for optimisation of packages and sustainability. These needs may be addressed in different ways, such as by: introducing thinner and lighter packages; extending the shelf life while maintaining the freshness of the product; continuously focusing on renewable and recyclable packaging solutions (e.g. by using bio based materials); or by making the package “smarter” in various ways (e.g. indicating the freshness level of the product or identifying whether a packed medicament is a counterfeit product).
The main purposes of a package are to protect the contents, to attract and inform the consumer and to be functional in all steps, from filling the of product at the production facilities up to its use at our homes or “on the go”. This should be done with consideration for being cost effective and with limited environmental impact. Packaging is also a crucial element in the marketing of a product, as it is essentially the casing that the product comes in. It is thus extremely important for the marketer to ensure that potential customers like what they see. The packaging should be appropriate to the product, and induce customers to buy it. Ethics play a large role in the problems with packaging and labelling. Many of the ethical issues are related to the environment, graphics, and safety.
The consortium has the ability to tackle the above mentioned challenges of packaging industry, and has already provided research in relevant areas. For instance, the nanotechnology (consortium cluster Nanoprogres) can help to protect the package content by using a sophisticated membrane with integrated particles that allow air to pass through but do not let bacteria in. This membrane can have various added functions such as disinfection or identification of some compounds by changing colour. Similarly, plasma technology (consortium cluster BalticNet-PlasmaTec) can be used for the creation of a thin film inside or outside the package that can have protective purposes or can disinfect and clean the content, as well as other several potential applications. Additionally, the utilisation of bio-materials and bio-polymers (consortium cluster Plastiwin), which are lighter and thinner, is strategic for any packaging. The consortium coordinator (the cluster PackBridge) has a large range of activities of the packaging value chain and can help to integrate the new materials and products into real solutions. The consortium cluster InovCluster includes agro-food companies and brings valuable insights about the application of the smart packages into this industry.Project objectives:
To meet the above challenges, the AdPack project partners will address the following main objectives:
1. To combine different innovation areas for advanced smart and sustainable packing;
2. To intensify cluster and business network cooperation across borders by fostering cross sectoral cooperation, strengthen the value chain and decrease the sectoral boundaries;
3. To support the establishment of the European Strategic Cluster Partnership and international cross-cluster collaboration in the emerging industry of advanced smart packing;
4. To promote competitiveness and internationalisation of the AdPack project cluster members and especially consortium SME in Europe and beyond;
5. To improve the visibility of the consortium and affiliated entities SME on an international scale;
And specific objectives:
1. To identify SME needs to support cross-border collaboration and internationalisation
To better address the needs of the AdPack project partner SME, these needs should be first known by the AdPack consortium. Ultimately, this objective aims to discover the services that SME expect to be supported with regard to cross-sectoral and international collaboration and internationalisation. Additionally, it aims to identify the cooperation and market interests as well as previous collaboration experience of SME for internationalisation support.
2. To define the European and third country target markets (geographically)
The definition of the European and third country target markets should be supported by: 1) desk research on international market needs, areas and opportunities for internationalisation in order to identify global megatrends in the packaging sector; 2) information collected from AdPack project SME about their cooperation interests and experiences, as well as the international previous experience of the AdPack consortium and Advisory Board. This specific objective will support the main objectives.
3. To identify the strategic partners in Europe and target third countries
Within this objective, two groups of strategic partners should be identified, the European strategic partners and the strategic partners in the third countries. European partners should serve to achieve two purposes. Firstly, they should complement the key competences of the AdPack project partners and, secondly, they should support the internationalisation of AdPack project partners and its members (mainly SME). The strategic partners from third countries should also support the internationalisation actions of AdPack project partners and/or their SME, supply relevant information about the target markets and support the collaboration in the target countries in a practical sense, such as direct business collaboration with the AdPack project partners and/or their SME.
4. To create and shape the AdPack ESCP identity
Identity shaping represents a crucial part of each ESCP, it should these specific parts as the AdPack ESCP logo, AdPack project website, AdPack project web pages at each consortium website, ESCP profile on ECCP (European Cluster Collaboration Platform) and profiles on LinkedIn together with open and close communication groups.
5. To create the joint communication strategy for AdPack and the ESCP
The communication strategy should be created and should reach the defined target groups. Several tools should be incorporated and various communication channels should be used such as newsletters, media releases etc.
6. To successfully organize and execute the working missions
The consortium should organise at least four working missions that include actions for active promotion and dissemination of cross-border collaboration, trust building, matchmaking, networking, cluster visits, fairs participation, trainings, B2B, delegation trips, packing summit and final conference.
7. To actively disseminate the AdPack project and best practices for international and cross-border collaboration
To inform the broad audience about the AdPack project and successes in the area of international and cross-border collaboration, various tools should be used. For active dissemination of the AdPack project and improvement of the visibility of the AdPack project partners SME on international scale, the members of AdPack project partners will participate in fairs, trade shows, conferences and workshops.
8. To define the services and good practices to be provided by ESCP
This objective focuses on the definition of the services and good practices to be provided by the ESCP for internationalisation and collaboration support in the relevant areas to their SME. These services and good practices should be based on the needs of the project partner SME, the literature research about processes and services that represent good practices and are already implemented by other clusters or ESCPs, existing services of each consortium partner and other criteria.
9. To define AdPack ESCP legal structure and elaborate the AdPack ESCP Partnership Agreement
Legal structure is crucial aspect of every ESCP. This structure should be the most suitable in order to secure the transparency of the management, administrative and fiscal processes. This definition should be included in the AdPack ESCP Partnership Agreement together with identification of the partners involved, statement of mission vision and common goals, clean definition of the management and coordination processes, description of the services to be implemented, definition of the processes to grow the partner base, protection of intellectual property etc.
10. To develop the joint internationalisation strategy
The joint international strategy should be composed of Partnership Agreement described in the SO9, international strategy plan and implementation roadmap. The international strategy plan should include consolidated information obtained through the whole execution of this project together with the SWOT analysis that identify the strength, weaknesses of the AdPack project, opportunities and treads of the internationalisation and cross-border collaboration toward the specific targeted market and partners. Also it should include definition of financial sustainability aspects. The implementation roadmap should provide a clear overview of the foreseen activities together with detailed agenda of cooperation action for the mid-term (two years) and a more strategic agenda for the long-term (five years).
Partnership other activities
Definition of common goals, interests and needs to build strong relationships for internationalisation and cross-border collaboration
To build a strategy that is based on commonly shared issues and needs, the consortium will first provide a range of research that will involve the AdPack project partners, the SME (consortium and affiliated entities) but also other European clusters or existing ESCP.For this, the partnership will use the above tools:
- Analysis of the AdPack project partners (services, good practices, key competences);
- Survey targeting the SME (consortium and affiliated entities);
- Analysis of other European excellent clusters or existing ESCP.
Fostering cross sectoral complementarities to intensify cooperation and to enlarge the ESCP
The consortium with its affiliated entities has clustered a range of experiences and competencies that enable it to strengthen the global value chain and to favour cross-sectoral approach: market driven cluster (food), technologies (nanotechnologies, plasma technologies) and new materials (plastic) with final application cluster (packaging). The participation of entities from Portugal, Czech Republic, Sweden, Germany and Belgium ensures a wide European coverage with different approaches.
Additionally, the project counts with a set of affiliated entities that cover the following complementary fields: biotechnology, environment, production technology, ICT, transport, logistics and mobility, engineering & tooling and life sciences, among others.
- Information gathering;
- Cluster matchmaking event promoted by the European Commission;
- Working missions organised by the consortium;
- Desk research using different sources, such as the TCI Network, ECCP or the database of European Cluster Excellence Initiative of the ESCA (European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis) — ESCA;
- Desk research to identify and assess the needs, areas and opportunities for internationalisation;
- Market studies.
Organisation of activities to reinforce partnership building, enable interaction, learn from each other and define cooperation procedures for the future
To increase efficiency, the cooperation activities (delegation trips, training, networking activities, etc.) will be combined to fulfil the EU criteria of using the most effective way. The activities will be grouped in four working missions and implemented in four countries.
- Delegation trips;
- Cluster visits;
- B2B events;
- Matchmaking events;
- Networking activities;
- Participation to trade fairs and packaging summit;
- Final conference.
Ensuring the excellence of the project by communication and dissemination activities
A communication/marketing strategy will be implemented based on a range of tools and channels to ensure an efficient dissemination of the project and of the ESCP.Two levels of communication will be considered:
- Internal communication: this includes the communication within the consortium, the consortium cluster members and the affiliated entities;
- External communication: to spread knowledge and raise awareness of the AdPack project results to specific target groups within and beyond Europe that will be identified during the project.
- Communication/marketing strategy;
- Dissemination activities (mass media/press releases);
- Identity shaping (logo; mini-site; LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook account; ECCP profile);
- Fairs, trade shows, conferences and workshops;
- External cluster events;
- Final conference.
Implement the results of activities to create a sustainable ESCP
A wide range of information will be gathered, discussed and prepared for further use during the project. The acquired knowledge will be used to create and implement the best services and good practices for SME internationalisation and cross-border collaboration support and for the successful establishment and running of the ESCP.Tools:
- Partnership Agreement;
- SWOT analysis;
- Financial sustainability analysis;
- Legal structure analysis;
- Internationalisation strategy plan;
- Implementation roadmap.