Leading-edge cluster project Futures International – Strategic positioning in international networks and the strengthening of international R&D cooperations with leading partners

As part of the leading-edge cluster MicroTEC Southwest, the project Futures International focused on the strategic positioning of the cluster within international research, innovation and policy networks, and on the strengthening of international R&D collaborations with leading partners. It was funded by the State of Baden-Württemberg within the framework of the Leading-Edge Cluster Promotion and is part of the internationalisation strategy of the leading-edge cluster (microTEC worldwide).

The central objective of this internationalisation strategy was to establish the leading-edge cluster as a major driver of intelligent micro-system solutions of the future and leading hub of international knowledge networks. For this, communication structures and processes with the various national and international key actors systematically developed and expanded. The cluster management should become a catalyst for longer-term research and innovation projects at the interface between local and global networks. By directed networking and international agenda-setting the reputation and the attractiveness of MicroTEC Southwest should be increased and the development of international innovation potentials can be facilitated.

Important activities of Futures International were:

  • the development of an international cooperation strategy in research and innovation for MicroTEC Southwest, in the context of the jointly developed research agenda
  • the strengthening of the international relations of MicroTEC Southwest and building strategic alliances with leading MST clusters
  • the development/build-up of a network management with relevant technology platforms, research groups and other innovation and policy networks and the initiation of a MST research dialogue with stakeholders at European level
  • the supervision of targeted acquisition of funding for strategically important international research and innovation projects, and
  • to support the effective implementation of such projects through training measures, tailoured to the specific needs of interdisciplinary MST projects.

The key results of Futures International were strategic cluster alliances and longer-term research and innovation cooperations with excellent partners. The targeted collaboration with leading partners allowed the cluster actors to expand or supplement their own skills in terms of their strategic development and sustainability.

SEZ coordinated the project and collaborated closely with the cluster organization Mikrosystemtechnik Baden-Württemberg e.V. (MST BW) as well as Baden-Württemberg International (bw-i) and other cluster actors. SEZ contributed its comprehensive knowledge of the methods of the preparation, design and implementation of international research and innovation projects, its many years of experience in the promotion of international clusters, research and innovation as well as its various working relationships with international organizations and networks.