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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 ESCP-4x section.

1st call for proposals of the Cluster Excellence Programme

6 projects
Name Duration Total budget EU Contribution Partnership Composition
MATERIALIX - Strengthen cluster management excellence along the industrial new materials value-chain 01/01/2016 to 31/12/2017 €258.437 €308.894
RUE AERO - Reaching Up to Excellence in Aerospace Cluster Management 01/01/2016 to 31/12/2017 €263.060 €249.851
CECIL - Cluster Excellence for Creative Industries Leadership 01/01/2016 to 31/12/2017 €247.283 €299.450
5FOREXCELLENCE - Five for Cross-industry Value Chain Excellence 01/01/2016 to 30/09/2017 €249.416 €236.944
CLUSTEM - Empowering CLUSters management and services in Textile and Machinery sectors 01/01/2016 to 31/12/2017 €262.530 €249.401
TCE - Towards Cluster Excellency 01/01/2016 to 31/12/2017 €249.422 €236.950

2nd call for proposals of the Cluster Excellence Programme

6 projects
Name Duration Total budget EU Contribution Partnership Composition
SmartSports4GoodLife 03/02/2020 to 02/02/2022 €469.905 €359.989
INNO-DROP - INNOvation and Development in clusteR excellence and cOoperative Partnerships 16/11/2016 to 15/11/2018 €284.392 €213.294
CLUSGRID - Clusters for Smart Grid 16/11/2016 to 15/11/2018 €268.727 €201.545
TRACE-KEI - TRAns-national Collaboration Empowering Key European Industries 16/11/2016 to 15/11/2018 €284.984 €213.738
COSMENERG - Cluster Excellence project in Central and Eastern European network of cluster organisations in the field of (eco- and bio) energy, renewable energy and environmental technologies 16/11/2016 to 15/11/2018 €280.685 €210.510
ECRI - Excellence Cluster for Regional Improvement 16/11/2016 to 15/11/2018 €228.949 €160.477