Home > ClusterXchange


What is ClusterXchange about?

ClusterXchange is a new pilot scheme to support short-term exchanges to better connect Europe’s industrial ecosystems. It facilitates transnational cooperation, peer learning, networking and innovation uptake between actors of different industrial clusters across Europe. It is implemented with support from cluster organisations that have teamed up in European Strategic Cluster Partnerships for Excellence (ESCP-4x).

An exchange constitutes a stay abroad performed by a visiting organisation from an eligible country at a host organisation in another eligible country. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, virtual exchanges are possible under certain conditions.

Exchanges can be used to:

  • Learn from actors in another cluster and/or other country
  • Explore growth opportunities in new markets
  • Foster the adoption of new technologies, digitalisation and green low-carbon solutions
  • Invest in strategic interregional collaboration

An exchange can last from three working days (excluding travel days) to one month.

The stay is partly financed by the European Commission through a lump sum paid to the visitors for travel and accommodation expenses. The lump sum must not exceed the threshold defined per host country.

The nature of each exchange exercise may follow different specific objectives within a broader approach aiming at the consolidation and/or the creation of new value chains across Europe. The types of activities visiting and host organisations may carry out during an exchange are:

  • Individual or grouped capacity building
  • Sharing of knowledge, experience and information in specific areas
  • Project development, innovation and research and development
  • Market research
  • Networking, identifying new partners and creating business opportunities

Who can participate?

Participants (visiting and host organisations) of a transnational exchange can be representatives of:

  • Cluster organisations and business network organisations
  • Scaling-up support organisations (such as tech centers, research institutes, digital innovation hubs, fab labs, creative hubs, resource-efficiency service providers, incubators, accelerators) that are cluster members
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are cluster members

All participant organisations must be from countries participating in the COSME programme. These countries include all European Union Member States and other third countries, as listed here.

To participate in the programme, the representatives of eligible organisations must:

  • Be a minimum of 18 years old
  • Be a national of a participating country or must have spent at least 183 days in a participating country with a residence permit or equivalent document, in case of non-nationals

Why participate?

Benefits for visitors

Up to one month abroad with a selected host in another participating country will allow you to:

  • Broaden your sector- and non-sector specific skills and knowledge through capacity building
  • Gain insights into the operation and techniques used by your host organisation
  • Expand your network of contacts and develop new cross-border partnerships
  • Find innovative solutions to upgrade your business, products and services
  • Create new business opportunities and get involved in new innovative projects
  • Gain knowledge about foreign markets and cultures
  • Get financial assistance for your exchange
  • Participate in a ClusterXchange alumni network

Benefits for hosts

Hosting exchanges will allow you to receive the short visits of foreign organisations that are active in business areas relevant to your organisation. Being a host organisation will allow you to:

  • Increase the visibility of your organisation, services and products in relevant communities (this exposure can be increased if you host multiple exchanges)
  • Share your knowledge, experience and information in specific areas
  • Learn new skills and knowledge from your visitors
  • Expand your network of contacts and develop new cross-border partnerships
  • Gain knowledge on visitors´ foreign markets and develop business and collaborations with them
  • Participate in a ClusterXchange alumni network

How can I participate?

Eligible participants interested in taking part in ClusterXchange either as visiting or host organisations should apply via the ClusterXchange IT tool. This IT tool is used to manage all of the steps of participating in an exchange. These steps are explained below. 

1. Registration

  1. Register via the ClusterXchange IT tool as a visiting and/or host organisation by filling in your personal and organisational information, as well as your motivation and preferences for the exchange in the online registration form and submit your CV.
  2. Select a partnership based on the sector(s) it covers and/or the geographical location of its members. Your partnership will be your guide and contact point throughout the exchange process. You can check out the profiles of all of the ESCP-4x partnerships here.
  3. Your chosen ESCP-4x will receive your registration request and assess it.

2. Matching

  1. Once your registration is accepted, you will be able to access the online catalogue of all registered participants available for an exchange. The IT tool will first provide you with a list of registered organisations that best match your profile and preferences indicated for the exchange in your registration form. You are free to choose your preferred partner for the exchange from this list or continue to navigate the online catalogue to find your best match. In the catalogue you can search for organisations using different search criteria.
  2. When a relevant partner for the exchange is identified, you can establish contact with the organisation via the IT tool.

3. Exchange building

  1. Once you have reached an agreement for the exchange with your matched partner, you will have to plan your exchange. Support from your partnership contact point and your partner´s partnership contact point will be available for this.
  2. You should build your exchange plan into an agreement called ‘commitment to quality’. This should contain the dates, objectives, action plan of the stay, the expected outcomes and responsibilities and submit this to your partnership contact points. Please keep in mind that the ClusterXchange scheme does not support internships or work placements – only capacity building and business- and innovation-oriented collaboration exchanges between clusters.
  3. After validation, the commitment to quality agreement is signed by both partners involved in the exchange and their partnerships and uploaded in the IT tool.
  4. Visiting organisations should also conclude a financial agreement with their partnerships for the provision of financial assistance for the exchange.
  5. Your exchange can start once these agreements are signed.


4. Exchange finalisation

  1. Once your exchange has terminated, you will have to complete a brief closing report on the exchange on the IT tool.
  1. Visiting organisations will receive the financial assistance for the exchange upon completing this report and providing relevant evidence (e.g. travel invoices, boarding passes) that the exchange has taken place to their partnership contact points.


More information is included in the ClusterXchange IT Tool user manual

ClusterXchange support office

The support office is available to provide general information and guidance on participating in the ClusterXchange scheme.


If you need general information about the programme, contact the support office. 

Send your query now

Please send your query by email:


  • Please indicate whether you are an interested or registered participant
  • If you are a registered participant involved in an exchange, please indicate your exchange reference number
  • If your query is related to technical issues, please attach a screenshot of the error and information on the used browser (brand and version)

You can also reach the support office on +351 22 607 64 07 between 10:00-14:00 (CET) on Monday to Friday on working days.


More detailed support in the form of guidance can be requested by scheduling a bilateral meeting with a member of the support office:

Schedule a meeting now