About the ECA
The European Cluster Alliance is an open platform established to maintain a permanent policy dialogue at EU level among national and regional public authorities responsible for developing cluster policies and managing or funding cluster programmes in their countries or regions.
This initiative responds to the needs and interests of many EU Member States and regions to share experiences in the field of cluster policies and initiatives. It will enable them to pool resources and address the problems they face, avoiding duplication of efforts and reducing fragmentation of cluster initiatives in Europe.
The ECA forms part of the PRO INNO Europe initiative funded under the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) which has developed a number of initiatives and programmes to support cluster policy makers and encourage trans-national cooperation and pilot initiatives. These include the European Cluster Observatory (ECO) and the Cluster Excellence initiative.
The European Cluster Alliance was founded in September 2006 by the partners involved in four cluster policy projects, known as INNO-Nets, funded under the PRO INNO Europe initiative of the European Commission, namely the BSR InnoNet, CEE-ClusterNetwork, CLUNET, and INNET. It has been welcomed by the Competitiveness Council as an important European initiative to foster cluster cooperation and to enhance the internationalisation process.
The European Cluster Alliance is much more than just another cluster networking project. Since January 2008, it has been opened to a much wider audience: any European cluster policy maker or cluster funding agencies willing to share experiences and to develop joint activities with the other partners of the Alliance have been able to join the ECA.
The year 2010 marks an important step in the development of the ECA. Its current members are determined to promote and enhance the contribution of the Alliance to cluster policy dialogue and action at all levels, with the aim of improving the efficiency of existing efforts in order to facilitate the emergence of new competitive industries in Europe through clusters, as well as fostering international cluster cooperation amongst clusters for the benefit of their members (SMEs, research organisations etc.).