Launch of the 2nd phase of the European Cluster Excellence Initiative

Submitted by Alina Danieles… on 20 January 2018

The European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA) is pleased to announce the official start of the Second Phase of the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI II). ECEI II is the result of an intensive discussion with the European Commission about the further development of the Cluster Labelling Scheme that resulted from the first European Cluster Excellence Initiative (2009-2011). 

The scheme is – thanks to the valuable contribution of cluster organisations and assessors – a huge success: more than 1,000 cluster organisations from 41 countries have already participated in the scheme and received a Bronze, Silver or Gold Label of Cluster Management Excellence. As the cluster merry-go-round has been racing since the inception of the scheme some seven years ago and many new developments occurred, there is a need for a revision of the labelling scheme.

Aiming to find new indicators to measure cluster management excellence, e.g. in the context of smart specialisation or internationalisation, and to the enhancement of the capacity of the expert network as well as of a new governance system that takes the large number of stakeholders and their interests better into account, the overall objective of ECEI II, funded under the COSME programme, is to develop a process leading to an improved European Cluster Excellence Policy with a particular focus on a higher level of transparency, accountability and efficiency of the current European benchmarking and labelling scheme. The new system that will emerge from this process will be fully operational from 2019 onwards.

The following specific objectives need to be achieved in order to reach this overall objective:

  • The existing methodology of the labelling will be further developed in order to adapt it to today’s cluster challenges. Also new communication tools will be developed. This will not only inspire the Phase 2 of the European Cluster Excellence Initiative, but will also increase the Europeanisation of the labelling system in a transparent way.
  • Cluster Management Excellence expertise needs to be reinforced at European level. The strengthening of the benchmarking and labelling methodology through training for practitioners and encouraging twinning approaches between cluster organisations in the regions will be essential in this respect.
  • A management structure for the renewed European cluster benchmarking and labelling process will be developed. This will happen notably through a “European Cluster Coordination Board” that is to be shared by the European Commission, who will ensure policy supervision and will monitor the implementation of the new process.

ECEI 2 is led by VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH as host organisation of ESCA. More than twenty organisations from all across Europe have joined the project. Organisations interested in participating in the initiative are welcome to contact ESCA to explore how to participate.  

Until further notice there will no changes in the current labelling system. Changes will be communicated sufficiently in advance.


European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA)

Thomas Lämmer-Gamp, Helmut Kergel (Directors)

c/o VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH

Steinplatz 1 D-10623 Berlin/Germany

Email: tlg [at]; Tel.: +49 30 31 00 78 414

Email: helmut.kergel [at]; +49 30 31 00 78 154

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