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Austrian Cluster Platform

Austrian Cluster Platform

Austria was an "early mover" in cluster policy development. Activities started in the late 1990s (1995: foundation of the Automotive Cluster Styria, 1998: foundation the of Automotive cluster Upper Austria, from 2000 onwards other regions followed)

There are more than 60 clusters and networks in Austria with more than 7.100 cluster members (73 % SME) and about 815.000 employees. The clusters are linked up with research and educational institutions, co-operate with other trans-regional clusters, are involved in EU-programs and strengthen international competitiveness of Austrian companies, especially that of SMEs. 

In 2008 the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy launched the National Cluster Platform for national and federal stakeholders in Austria. The platform is a structured strategic and working environment for cluster organizations and networks. It is important to enforce early and intensive information exchange on labeling and know-how transfer and best practices for improving cluster management. The focus of the activities lies on research and innovation, Key Enabling Technologies (KETs), internationalisation and EU Cluster policy. 

The Austrian Cluster Platform is responsible for the organisation of the annual Austrian Cluster Conference and the participation in the Alpbach Technology Symposium as well as to maintain five working groups and provides regular information. Furthermore a main objective is to participate in EU strategy processes and program developments.

The Working Groups: 

1. Cluster in the national innovation system
By systematic networking and participation of clusters in the further development of the Austrian research, technology and innovation policy, an important contribution is made to the development of fields of strategic strengths. 
Furthermore the careful coordination of regional and national policies is supported that leads to a significant increase of the ability to implement innovation policy measures in Austria. 

2. Cluster good practices related to research, innovation and qualification
This working group was set up in January 2010 and focuses on the role of cluster organizations in supporting research & development and innovation. 
Some of the questions addressed are related to the stimulation of the innovation culture in clusters and the cooperation between companies and research institutions with a particular focus on the 6 Key Enabling Technologies of the Horizon 2020 programme (Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Micro- and Nanoelectronics, Photonics, Biotechnology, Advanced Manufacturing)

3. Cluster relevant developments in technology and innovation at European level including regional policy
Since the start of the Lisbon process the EU has set a number of sustainable measures towards the strengthening of the European innovation capacity and its knowledge base. During the last couple of years “clustering” has increasingly been recognized as a pivotal tool for innovation politics. As a result, clusters and company networks respectively with SME focus were increasingly taken into consideration in the programme definitions of the fundamental EU programmes, such as Structural Fonds, H2020, COSME, etc. 
The objectives of this working group are:

  • an active and intensive observation of the development of the EU policy with regard to all cluster activities, 
  • the exchange of experiences of Austrian clusters with institutions of the European Union and 
  • the consistent positioning of Austrian cluster interests in the European bodies.

4. Internationalisation of clusters
Objective of this Working Group is a support and advice of clusters in their internationalization activities in close alignment with the Austrian foreign trade strategies and the  Austrian foreign trade organizations. One main focus lies on international technology cooperations.  

5. Future production technologies "Industry 4.0" and Knowledge Intensive Services 
Industry 4.0, Knowledge intensive services (KIS) and service innovation are seen as main drivers for productivity, innovation and growth and are more and more in the focus of innovation policy. Clusters may support the development of Industry 4.0, KIS and service innovation through their activities and services. 
The objectives of this working group are: 

  • Development of instruments that clusters may implement to strengthen KIS 
  • Transparency on specific competences of KIS companies in clusters 
  • Awareness for the possibilities of innovative projects through co-operation of producing companies and KIS companies 

The goal of the National Cluster Platform is to strengthen the role of regional clusters in the national innovation system. We try to increase co-operation between national and regional level with supporting measures specific for cluster, especially for R&D and human resources. The enforcement of the co-operation between clusters and research institutions is another main target. The National Cluster Platform operates as a turntable between regional clusters and regional and international stakeholders.

Website: http://www.clusterplattform.at