Highlights of the 6th Romanian National Cluster Conference
Between 22-23 November 2017 more than 250 participants from the Romanian, European and Balkan cluster communities as well as representatives of the European Commission, national governments, agencies for regional development and other cluster stakeholders gathered in Bucharest to share their experiences and discuss relevant cluster themes under the motto „Smart Clusters. Value Chains. Business Driven Innovation“.
The opening of the conference was made by Mr. Cristian Gabriel Winzer, State Secretary at the Ministry for EU Affairs, Mrs. Anca Magdalena Chiser, State Secretary at the Romanian Ministry of Economy and Mr. Ciprian Preda, State Secretary at the Romanian Ministry of Research and Innovation, who highlighted the important role clusters play in supporting the innovation processes in the Romanian economy. The audience was happy to hear about the upcoming launch of the call for proposals for the organisation and development of clusters within the National Programme CDI III – which is a successful example of the good cooperation between the Romanian Cluster Association (Clustero) and the Ministry of Research and Innovation. The call was prepared based on a broad national consultation process of the Romanian clusters and capitalized on relevant good practices from Europe that were shared within the Interreg Europe project „CLUSTERIX 2.0". The programme is dedicated to supporting mature clusters in the elaboration of their research-development-innovation strategies and increase their offer of services for their members. The programme will offer financing for up to 3 clusters per region over maximum 24 months, with a total budgetof 8.4 million EUR.
The keynote speakers addressed the role clusters play in supporting the industry, the SMEs, the start-ups in the context of (global) value chains and regional innovation ecosystems from two perspectives: the European and Romanian ones. Dr. Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit: Clusters, Social Economy and Entrepreneurship at the European Commission spoke about the „European Cluster Policy. Towards Joint Cluster Initiatives“, emphasizing on the three pillars for growth in the European Cluster Policy: clusters as accelerators for innovation and industrial change, inter-regional and international cluster cooperation and cluster excellence reflected in various EU Cluster Initiatives and programmes. Clusters will play a special role in the strategic cross-regional collaboration through the upcoming European Strategic Cluster Partnerships for Smart Specialisation (ESCP-S3). In December this year, the European Commission will also launch a call for the expression of interest to select seven model demonstrator regions interested in receiving from the European Observatory for Clusters and Industrial Change free advisory support services to test modern cluster policies. The information will be published on the European Cluster Collaboration Platform. Mr. Adrian Curaj, General Director of the Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation offered the “big picture“ on „Business driven innovation: start-ups, scale-ups and entrepreneurship in Romania“ in close relation to cluster approaches.
The programme (attached) shows the richness of contributions policy makers, cluster managers, cluster experts and other stakeholders brought in more than 40 speeches, presentations, panel discussions. Since especially clusters in the Eastern Danube, Balkan & Black Sea Regions face the challenge of becoming active dialogue actors in the process of defining and monitoring regional smart specialisation, while positioning themselves along global value chains where competitive advantages are given by business driven innovation, a special attention was given to the cluster actions implemented within the Danube Region Strategy programme, in particular in the framework of the DTP Danubiovalnet Project.
Brokerage Event B2B, C2C
In addition to the high-profile and informative character, the conference also had a strong practical side facilitating more than 50 bilateral business meetings between participating national and international companies and clusters via the brokerage event session conducted with the support of Enterprise Europe Network.