The "cluster model" of Castilla y León allows us to address strategies to facilitate strengthening and competitiveness of important sectors of Castilla y Leon.
The creation and development of sectorial clusters was promoted by the regional government ten years ago in Castilla y León. Clusters are nowadays mature entities which play an important role to boost innovation in the sectors they are working on, especially among SMEs. There are ten clusters registered in the Regional Cluster Register.Vitartis, the Food Industry Cluster of Castilla y León is one of them, working in the agri-food sector. Clusters bring together related business jointly with universities, research centres, public institutes. This spurs three important activities: increased productivity (through specialized inputs, access to information, synergies, and access to public goods), more rapid innovation (through cooperative research and competitive striving), and new business formation (filling in niches and expanding the boundaries of the cluster map). Clusters also promote collaboration among the productive sector and the regional innovation infrastructure: - Science Parks, Technology Centres facilitating the transformation of the areas of research of these infrastructures towards the business demands in the innovation area. Also, Clusters are part of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network made up by different agents of the region with competences and capacities in R&D&innovation (public bodies, universities, research centres). The aim of this network is to dynamize R&D&innovation initiatives finding areas and opportunities of collaboration among its members.
The team needed to manage this programme (evaluate proposals, advice...) is made up by 12 people from the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Department.
The total budget allocated to this call for the period 2016-2020 is 2.000.000€. During 2014 and 2015 the amount allocated was 140.000€ per year.
Evidence of success
In the current situation there are ten regional sectoral clusters, they are highly significant to regional economies and employment levels. VITARTIS, the food industry cluster of Castilla y León, and partner of the STRING consortia, is one of them. 81 projects have been presented by clusters to this call since 2014 to 2019, 58 of them were funded by this call. This means a total amount of 660.000€ of public and private resources mobilized to promote innovation by clusters.
Sometimes the different entities are reluctant to participate due to the competitors are in the same cluster, which suppose an extra-work in order to create a friendly and confidence environment for trying to change their “chip” to a collaborate way of work.
Potential for learning or transfer
Clusters are geographic concentrations of interconnected companies or institutions that manufacture products or deliver services to a particular field or industry. According to different regions’ characteristics, could be possible to implement this cluster model. Agglutinate companies and agents with different capacities on R&D in a cluster organization multiplies the possibilities of finding synergies and opportunities of collaboration.
Cluster are a tool at a service of the sector they are working on. They know, at first hand, which are the weakness, the needs of their sectors and the areas in which the sector is working on to promote competitiveness through innovation. Clusters are also a useful tool to public bodies in order to have a competent contact for all matters concerning the needs of the sector they represent.