European project Alps4EU

Overcoming the fragmentation of clusters in the Alpine Space

Cluster policies were launched to respond to regional and national challenges and needs. They were developed on a national rather than a European level, resulting in today’s diversity of cluster policies and programmes.
However, cluster initiatives do nowadays face international challenges and need to respond to global competition.
An appropriate response towards these new developments can be achieved based on international links and trans-regional strategies. Especially cluster initiatives in the Alps need to address their lacking in this respect.

The objective of Alps4EU was to connect clusters in the Alpine region more closely and to overcome their fragmentation by specifically strengthening cluster initiatives, favouring the emergence of trans-regional meta-clusters. Moreover, the Alpine clusters’ competitiveness needs to be enhanced and clearly positioned as a European cluster, enjoying worldwide recognition, for the benefit of the region’s economy.

The project concentrated on clusters in four key sectors: Energy and Green Tech; Mechatronics and Engineering; Chemistry and New Materials; ICT.

The aim of the project was to be reached by developing a trans-regional cluster strategy addressing policy makers, cluster managers and industry partners.

Concrete measures within the project were:

  • Supporting clusters in their internationalisation (e.g. by joint transnational projects and the exchange of knowledge, resources, people and best practices)
  • Initiating inter-cluster cooperation (e.g. by company missions)
  • Ensuring visibility through professional coordination and positioning of the Alpine cluster initiatives on a European level (e.g. in European cluster initiatives and networks)

Within the project, the main activities of the SEZ were focused on public relations and communication, on the finding of a common definition of the meta-cluster and on identifying the potential for cooperation in the Alpine Space.

A Knowledge Atlas in the field of Green Tech has been developed within Alps4EU. The Alps4EU Knowledge Atlas is a collaborative tool built with the aim to provide a common framework to support cluster managers in the reciprocal learning of competencies available in each other\'s region and identify collaboration opportunities in view of launching specific collaboration projects or meta-cluster initiatives. Even after the end of Alps4EU clusters, companies or researchers are invited to being presented with a profile in the Knowledge Atlas.

To the Knowledge Atlas:

Project Duration: 09/2011 - 02/2014
Countries: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland

Portrait Hartmut Welck
Hartmut Welck
0711 123 4031