Cluster Excellence Programme
The European Commission makes continuous efforts aimed at strengthening the cluster management excellence in the EU as a way to provide more professional business services to European SMEs through clusters and therefore contribute to the development of more world-class clusters in the EU.
In 2014 a first call for proposals in the framework of the Cluster Excellence Programme was implemented, followed by the second call in 2015 and a third in 2018. These targeted assistance under the COSME programme for cluster organisations, business networks and their managers to provide high quality services to SMEs in different areas.
While the first call for proposals focused on how clusters could:
- improving their management practices as well as their market/competitive advantages and value-chain analytical capacities, and
- providing high quality services to their SMEs, especially through integrating creativity into their business, facilitating SMEs internationalisation, exploiting and diffusing Key Enabling Technologies (KETs), assisting SMEs with IPR protection and further addressing resource-efficiency issues within their cluster.
the second call for proposals concentrated on:
- gaining further insights into cluster members’ positioning in value-chains (e.g. through value-chain analyses),
- taking stock of emerging industrial trends and dynamics (e.g. cross-sectoral dynamics and emerging industries),
- developing a shared vision of their members with regard to collaboration with other clusters in Europe and in global markets,
- liaising consistently with public authorities regarding the business support environment and coherence with regional policy, including in the framework of smart specialisation strategies, and
- shaping strategic plans and roadmaps for sustained cluster development.
the third call for proposals was directed at:
- developing cluster management skills in order to boost excellence in delivering SME support,
- setting cluster strategies at individual and partnership levels,
- implementing activities to support the establishment of these cluster strategies (e.g. twinning, networking, and joint collaboration activities to support SMEs), and
- implementing the new pilot ClusterXchange programme.
Details of the selected projects from the three first calls for proposals are below. The selected projects for the third call are presented in the “European Cluster Partnerships | Excellence” section.