IDEA Consult inspires a future-proof Flemish cluster policy

IDEA Consult inspires a future-proof Flemish cluster policy

The Flemish government’s revamped cluster policy was launched in 2016. As part of this policy, 6 spearhead clusters were created to strengthen the competitiveness of companies in a number of strategic areas. In addition, 20 innovative business networks received support to initiate a dynamic of collaboration between companies in emerging areas.

Three years after the launch of the Flemish cluster policy, the Flemish government (Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship, VLAIO) wanted to draw up a thorough interim assessment of the results, starting points and objectives of the cluster policy, as well as of the way in which the clusters are supported. IDEA Consult carried out this interim assessment of the cluster policy for VLAIO.

Based on an extensive mix of methods, and with the strong involvement of the cluster initiatives and international experts, a clear picture emerged of the important role of the clusters for initiating new, innovation-oriented cooperation based on a broad-based strategic agenda. As at the end of 2019 the spearhead clusters had started 213 cooperation projects between companies, with almost €202 million in project support reserved for them. Moreover, approximately 70% of the cluster members have seen their own competitiveness strengthened in the short term through participation in the cluster.

In the coming years it will be a matter of further consolidating and making good use of the central position of the spearhead clusters in their ecosystems, in a clear relationship with the research institutions and other players in the Flemish innovation system. As triple helix partnerships with strong substantive expertise in their field, the spearhead clusters are ideally equipped and positioned to be more widely involved as a partner of the Flemish government in strategic themes and objectives (industry 4.0, circular economy, energy transition, etc.).

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