Due to different factors as the relocation of work to Asia, the industry contribution to the EU economy has been declining over the last few years. This reflects the necessity to transform the current industry sector into a smarter one.
Nevertheless, the European Innovation Scoreboard 2017 shows that SMEs with innovative products or processes have decreased 18 points since 2010 and not all EU countries are at the same level of innovation and smart specialization.
Therefore, it is essential to introduce the necessary changes in current policies to get a real smart transformation of the European industry, with the final aim of being more competitive and reaching the target set by the European Commission of boosting manufacturing´s share of GDP from 15% to 20% by 2020.
On the other hand, clusters have been proven to have a reticular effect to introduce changes in the European industry. The European Cluster Panorama 2016 shows that wages in more developed clusters are close to 3% higher than in industries not located in such regional hotspots.
Thus, changing regional clusters policies will trigger the transformation of the industry in a larger scale.
With the aim of improving regional and national policies, the INNO Industry project has brought together 10 European partners to work on increasing the rate of clusters that develop activities to support the transformation towards Industry 4.0 by 2022.
INNO Industry will provide added value by improving current regional policies to foster clusters to be stronger and prepared to adapt industry for the technological trends of Industry 4.0., providing specific action plans adapted to each region integrating the interregional learning outcomes in their regional frameworks according to regional requirements.
Regional policies must be aligned with national and European policies, establishing common and complementary strategies to improve the competitiveness of the industry through the activity of clusters as bridge between policy makers and the atomized European industry.
The development of this European Commission-funded project will achieve as key outputs a SWOT analysis in 10 EU regions, the identification of at least 30 best practices related with clustering and industry 4.0, one European blueprint towards clusters 4.0 and 10 action plans to introduce improvements in addressed policy instruments.