The ecoRIS3 project is facilitating a group of Irish policy makers on a study visit to Turin to learn about the Innovation Poles and Cluster Programmes in the Piedmont Region of Italy on the 30th and 31st of October 2019. The group will be hosted by Metropolitan City of Turin, who will connect the group with IRES PIEMONTE a research institute that provides support to the programming action of the Piedmont Region and the bioPmed Innovation Pole which combines companies, research centers and universities active in the fields of human health and life sciences, to promote the interaction between research and industry, stimulate innovation and drive the internationalization processes.

The visit comes at an opportune time for Irish Policy as the Government has recently announced a further €45 million would be made available under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) – a portion of which will be directly funnelled to Enterprise Clustering Projects, which are designed to stimulate enterprise clustering and support the further growth of established industry clusters regionally; by sector and nationally with funding up to €350k per project. In July a further €2.75m Regional Technology Cluster Fund was launched to build sectoral clusters of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) at a regional level through the institutes of technology.

Dr John Hobbs who is ecoRIS3 co-ordinator in CIT and a member of the V-LINC research group which specialises in clustering and competitiveness research believes “Ireland must be careful that regional initiatives are sustainable over the longer term and co-ordinated at a national level if the country is to reap the many benefits, seen from clustering in regions across Europe. Examples such as bioPmed and CLEVER (CLeantech & Energy innoVation clustER) clusters in Piedmont are thriving within a formalised regional cluster policy, and associated supports. A formalised, structured national policy in Ireland is required to ensure commonalities amongst Ireland’s new clusters and furthermore that Government investment in clustering support is transformative and not wasted.”

Image: Cyber Ireland, Cluster Manager Dr Eoin Byrne will form part of the group who will visit Turin to benchmark clustering expertise.

The ecoRIS3 project will deliver its action plan which has a key focus on a national policy for clusters along with supports for cluster facilitation and internationalisation. The plan aligns with the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) for the Southern Region and the South West Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020 and will take inspiration from the Innovation Poles and Cluster Programmes in the Piedmont.  

The group travelling to Turin for the benchmarking and good practice sharing is made up of Dr Céline McHugh, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation; Ross Church, Programme Manager, South West Regional Enterprise Plan; Damien McConville, InterTradeIreland; Dr Eoin Byrne, Cluster Manager of Cyber Ireland and Dr John Hobbs, Cork Institute of Technology.

Dr Eoin Byrne, believes that there are significant learning opportunities for Cyber Ireland from the study visits “the meeting facilitated with Alberto Baldi Cluster Manager of bioPmed will be invaluable in understanding the stages and trajectory of bioPmed since it’s foundation in 2007. Furthermore, Alberto is a Cluster Evaluation Expert for the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis so drawing on his knowledge and expertise can support Cyber Ireland’s development and clustering supports at a national level."