- This is 14.4% of the total budget of the 2019 European Commission COSME Cluster Excellence grant line.
- The clusters have had the support of Catalonia Trade & Investment to access these grants, which will be allocated to specific projects in Catalonia in the fields of food, packaging, lighting, smart cities, mobility and sport.
- The entities that have obtained these funds, which are accessed through a competitive tendering, are the Digital Cluster, the Foodservice Cluster, the Packaging Cluster, the Lighting Cluster of Catalonia (CICAT), Railgrup and INDESCAT.
6 Catalan clusters have raised 519,000 euros from the European Commission to carry out innovation projects in Catalonia in the fields of lighting, food, packaging, smart cities, mobility and sport. This is the result of the COSME Cluster Excellence line for 2019, which had a total budget of 3.6 million euros. The Catalan clusters have had access to this line with the support of Catalonia Trade & Investment.
In this way, Catalonia has raised 14.4% of the grant line’s total budget, despite it represents only 1.5% of the population of the European Union. According to the director of Catalonia Trade & Investment Clusters unit, Joan Martí, “this once again highlights the strength of Catalan clusters in the European context and is a good example that Catalonia’s cluster policy is in line with the recommendations and programs promoted by the European Commission”. In fact, 22 Catalan clusters have submitted proposals to access European funds in 2019, "the highest participation figure in history, with a very high success rate and above the usual average." "It becomes key to attract significant funding to drive transformative projects while generating stable international connections," he says.
The six Catalan clusters that have accessed these funds -these are six of the 29 clusters that are currently part of the Catalunya Clusters program of Catalonia Trade & Investment -are the Digital Cluster, the Foodservice Cluster, the Packaging Cluster, the Lighting Cluster of Catalonia (CICAT), Railgrup and INDESCAT, the Catalan cluster of the sports industry. They will carry out the following projects during a two-year period:
- Safe Smart Food (Packaging Cluster and Foodservice Cluster): The Packaging Cluster and the Foodservice Cluster are jointly leading this initiative with a consortium of five European food clusters to drive the food and packaging ecosystem internationally in order to make the companies that are part of these entities more competitive. The consortium will work on seven aspects where both sectors converge: food technology; smart products; food security; sustainability; smart packaging; the end user and the last mile.
- Brilliant (CICAT): The Lighting Cluster of Catalonia, together with five European clusters and the European alliance of lighting clusters ELCA, will develop the COSME ClusterXchange platform with the aim of increasing the skills of 14 clusters. The project promotes learning and networking between clusters and SMEs within the framework of lighting, construction and smart cities.
- SmartCTClusters (Digital Cluster): the project is based on the creation of a collaborative network between five European clusters in the field of smart cities to create new business opportunities among the companies that are part of them, especially in the sectors of mobility, energy, environment and ICT.
- EXXTRA (Railgrup): 17 European rail mobility clusters representing 2,000 SMEs from all over Europe will share good practices on an international level to transfer them to companies in this sector from each region, including the Catalan ones. The aim is to encourage technological cooperation between SMEs in different countries and boost their access to innovation opportunities and international contracts.
- SmartSports4GoodLife (INDESCAT): project coordinated by INDESCAT and with the participation of other clusters and European entities to enable more than 50 exchanges between 100 companies and agents of the sports industry in Catalonia, France, Hungary and the Netherlands to promote collaboration agreements and new business opportunities. The initiative focuses on meeting the challenges of the sports industry in the coming years, such as digitalization or sustainability, through the interaction of sport with technology, energy efficiency, tourism and health.
What is a cluster?
A cluster is an association of companies (startups, SMEs and multinationals) and other agents (universities and technology centers) in a specific economic field that share resources, generate synergies and project themselves internationally. It helps its members improve their competitiveness through the development of joint transformation projects and the definition of strategic challenges for their sector. In Catalonia, clusters represent 30% of GDP (74 billion euros of aggregate turnover) and generate more than 300,000 jobs.
Currently, 29 clusters are part of the Catalunya Clusters program of Catalonia Trade & Investment, an initiative promoted to support Catalan clusters to help them focus on their strategy, train cluster managers, co-finance strategic projects and organize trips to reference ecosystems to do international benchmarking and closing collaboration projects between Catalan clusters or with international entities, among other initiatives.