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Strong comittment of ALPHA-RLH and AFPC to renew the awarding process of European cluster excellence labels


Hervé Floch, CEO of the ALPHA-RLH cluster and President of the Europe Committee of the French competitiveness and business cluster organisation (Association Française des Pôles de Compétitivité – AFPC) is strongly involved in the renewing of the awarding process of European cluster excellence labels (ECEI2 project).

On Friday April 26th, 2019 was held in Brussels the final restitution meeting of the ECEI2 ad hoc grant in presence of Ulla Engelmann Head of unit, Advanced Technologies, Clusters, social economy, DG Grow, European Commission.

This grant, provided under the COSME programme, was aiming at renewing/refreshing the awarding process of European cluster excellence labels. Up until now, the procedure was fully managed and operated by VDI/VDE-IT, in short collaboration with a pool of independent experts.

There were 3 specific objectives to this partnership initiative:

  • Propose clear and operational procedures to reinforce the Europeanisation of the labelling system;
  • Reinforce the cluster management excellence expertise by strengthening the benchmarking and labelling methodologies;
  • Setting-up a sustainable management structure of the labelling system that will increase the accountability, transparency and efficiency of the labelling process.

The role of AFPC (through its “Europe” committee chaired by Hervé Floch also CEO of the APLHA-RLH cluster) in this partnership was to draft propositions for this new labelling structure, in cooperation with other European clusters organisations. The main idea was thus to set up an international non-for -profit association under Belgian law (AISBL), ideally regrouping national and regional clusters organisations. This idea implied the delivery of two documents:

  • The draft bylaws for this association;
  • The clear identification and definition of the roles of the support bodies (labelling office, pool of experts, potential subcontractors…), by giving guidelines on their structuration and interactions.

AFPC thus launched a series of meetings in order to work on these 2 documents and come up with a new structure, with a European character, detailing interactions between all the stakeholders and proposing a sustainable economic model, in the interest of the European clusters community.

The final meeting of the ECEI2 consortium was the occasion to present and detail these results. The proposed model was welcomed by the European Commission, which now requires a concrete action plan with the objective to create this association possibly by the beginning of 2020.