EC sets up the European Cluster Policy Group and calls for experts to become members

By Decision of October 22nd, 2008, the Commission has set up the European Cluster Policy Group (ECPG), whose scope and objective is to share intelligence about cluster policies in view to further explore how to better assist Member States in supporting the emergence of world-class clusters in the EU. Following this Decision, the Commission also published a call for applications with a view to listing candidates to make up the ECPG.

In its Communication “Putting knowledge into practice: A broad-based innovation strategy for the EU” the Commission recognises the important role of clusters for competitiveness and innovation as instruments for closing the gap between business, research and resources, thereby bringing knowledge faster to the market, and calls for a strategic policy orientation and cooperation. The European Cluster Memorandum, launched at the European Presidency Conference on Innovation and Clusters in Stockholm on January 2008,  marked an important step for further encouraging cluster development.

The European Cluster Alliance, which currently brings together more than 70 partner organisations across Europe, was a first step towards cluster policy cooperation across the EU. In this same framework, the Committee of the Regions adopted its opinion on clusters and cluster policy on June 2008, calling for the setting-up of a High Level Expert Group on Clusters, which could serve as a platform for discussing the implementation of a general strategic framework for clusters.

ECPG main tasks

  1. Improve the Commission’s and the Member States’ understanding of modern policy responses in support of cluster excellence.
  2. Identify and further analyse successful and unsuccessful practices in support of clusters, and make recommendations on how to better design cluster policies in the Community.
  3. Assess international trends in cluster development and identify future challenges for cluster policies in response to globalisation.
  4. Explore tools for removing existing barriers to transnational cluster cooperation.
  5. Analyse complementarities among the main policies and financial instruments at Community level that support clusters, draw conclusions and formulate recommendations.
  6. Liaise with the European Cluster Alliance and where appropriate with other initiatives in support of clusters and cluster policies, and draw from their practical experiences.
  7. Conduct up to a maximum of three exploratory study visits within the term of office of the members, with a view to learning from international experience.
  8. Collaborate with a view to communicating the discussion and common findings to the public.
  9. Provide the Commission with a mid-term report nine months after its launch and a final report at the end of its term summarising progress on the tasks and recommendations. The final report should be made publicly available.

The Group will normally meet on Commission premises in accordance with the procedures and schedule established by it. The Commission will provide secretarial services to the Group. Commission officials with an interest in the proceedings may attend meetings of the Group.

The Decision setting up the Group will expire on June 30th, 2011.

Call for Expert Members of the ECPG

The European Cluster Policy Group should be composed of high-level members with experience and competence in the field of competitiveness and innovation policies and with a very good understanding of the role and functioning of clusters in economic development.

Therefore, the Commission calls for applications with a view to listing candidates to make up the European Cluster Policy Group.

The Commission will assess applications and eligibility of individual candidates against the following criteria:

  • Members should have outstanding expertise and experience in the field of competitiveness and innovation policies at regional, national and community levels and should have a very good understanding about the role of clusters in economic development in order to ensure that the analysis and recommendations produced are feasible and respect the institutional and legal framework of the EU.
  • Members should have strong experience in European affairs and working in an international environment.
  • Members should be fluent in English both oral and written at a level which allows them to contribute to discussions and preparation of reports.

Duly signed applications must be sent in writing, either by e-mail or mail (date as postmarked), before November 30th, 2008, to:

European Commission
DG Enterprise and Industry
Unit D2 Support for Innovation
B-1049 Brussels