Euro-Cluster: good practice in cluster policy

Funder

Enterprise Ireland; Dept of Economic Development, N Ireland; Scottish Enterprise & Dept of Enterprise & Lifelong Learning, Scotland; Welsh Dev Agency; Ministry of Reg Dev & Local Govt, Norway; Tampere Reg Council, Sweden

Start year

1999

End year

2000

The project involved a comparison of cluster policies in Europe. It was designed to take advantage of the wide range of experience resulting from the surge in cluster policy initiatives in the 1990s and to identify elements of good practice in successful cluster development. Funded by seven European regional development organisations, the project aimed to identify and understand the key factors behind the successful design, delivery and evaluation of cluster development policies. It focused on the practical issues of cluster policy-making and highlighted examples of good practice in different aspects of cluster policy. Critical issues included: selecting and targeting clusters; the strategic interpretation of the cluster concept within wider regional development; planning and developing cluster policies; their operational management; monitoring and evaluating cluster policies; and the critical success factors shaping good practice. Conducted during 2000, research involved two stages: (i) an extensive review of cluster policies globally, their key features and the challenges facing policy-makers in trying to pursue cluster development. (ii) Intensive research on seven case studies of cluster policy initiatives across Europe, involving a survey of strategic documents and face-to-face interviews with the main participants in the cluster policy. Case study regions were: Nordrhein Westfalen (Germany), East Sweden, Tampere (Finland), Limburg (Netherlands), the Basque Country (Spain), Scotland, and the Arve Valley (France).