European project AlpClusters 2020

Alpine space industrial clusters’ networks: paving the way for Europe 2020

As the rest of Europe, the Alpine Space is being severely affected by the economic crisis and the helplessness of small and medium sized enterprises (SME) in front of a stuck internal market and harsh extra-EU competitors. Dealing with a regional economy largely based on manufacturing SMEs, clusters have been identified as a good tool to promote internationalisation and openness to new markets. The establishment of networks of clusters was a step forward to favour cross-border cooperation and to increase the international visibility of cluster initiatives.

Nonetheless, when approaching such cross-border initiatives, poor awareness of the potentialities from the addressees and the lack of self-sustainability in the medium and long term are real barriers. Thus, policy makers are challenged with acknowledging the added value of transnational cooperation and with finding ways to ensure the durability of such initiatives better using the existing programmes and funding schemes or deploying new ones.

Therefore, AlpClusters 2020 aimed to capitalise the most relevant actions tested and experiences in previous EU supported initiatives (especially in the Alpine Space area), proposing focused and concerted actions in order to:

  • design and implement joint policies that will enhance transnational cooperation to support strategic industrial sectors with the aim of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth;
  • go beyond regional clusters with the concept of integration of regional clusters into a wider and more powerful macro-regional network (within the Alpine macro region);
  • identify the most efficient synergies within Europe 2020 schemes and priorities (and related national/regional programmes).

AlpClusters 2020 aimed to impact local policies for innovative clusters’ networks in the Alpine Space area in the programming period 2014-2020. Three kind of results were expected:

  • valorisation of results and achievements from previous projects on clusters’ development, by means of analysing what has been done and the potential for improvement
  • collection of needs and expectations from the local stakeholders in the partners’ areas
  • development of an Alpine Space Action Plan, including 20 policy recommendations that can be adopted or can inspire policy makers for the next programming period.

AlpClusters 2020 addressed 3 target groups: the relevant actors, the local stakeholders and the general public. The immediate beneficiaries of the project’s results were the policy makers, as implementers of the policies, and the local stakeholders (mainly cluster managers and regional economic actors).

SEZ was as a project partner responsible for the implementation of the project activities in Baden-Württemberg and the analysis of the experience of European initiatives and the development of the policy recommendations.

Project duration: 09/2013 - 11/2014
Countries: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland

Portrait Hartmut Welck
Hartmut Welck
0711 123 4031