The 3rd basque stakeholders´group meeting took place last 15th March in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque Country).Representatives from various stakeholders representing project relevant cluster managers, RTOs, government institutions and universities participated in the meeting.

The aim of the meeting was to give an overview of the first year of project implementation so far and to share the Practical Experiences and Inspirations from Interregional Learning Workshops (IWS) conducted in Piedmont, Italy (Oct 2016) and Lubelskie, Poland (March 2017). Special attention was put in the Opportunities & Challenges of the cooperation with other regions and some interesting initiatives were identified.

The meeting was also an opportunity to share and discuss the recommendations and lessons learnt resulting from the SWOT Analysis: Looking into the context, policy brief elaborated by Orkestra (Basque Institute of Competitiveness).The policy brief sets out the main findings from the project’s first policy learning document, which provides a baseline analysis of the approaches to clusters, cluster policy and smart specialization of the 7 CLUSTERS3 regions. This resulted in an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of the partner regions in terms of clusters, cluster policies and smart specialization strategies.

Finally some information was given about the Peer Review Exercise that will take place in the Basque Country next 9-10th May. The CLUSTERS3 project peer reviews aim to complement, with the qualitative feedback from international experts, the self-assessment process undertaken by each partner region as part of their learning process.

The next meeting is scheduled to be held in July, after the 4th project IW that will take place in Inverness (Scotland) on the 20-21st June.