A national call to stimulate cross cluster collaboration on innovation between a minimum of three clusters from at least two Swedish regions.
As smart specialisation was presented as an ex-ante condition for the ERDF-program, regional prioritisations were made by the 8 NUTS2-regions. However, there was no national coordinating S3. To spur innovation in Swedish areas of strength, there was a need for increased interregional collaboration, as well as for developed links between the regional and national level. In many cases, regional S3 priorities were driven by regional cluster organisations. However, many of these organisations were small, had limited resources for collaboration and lacked an overview of priorities in other regions. To further develop Swedish areas of strength and stimulate the collaborative processes relating to them, more interregional collaborations were needed.
In the fall of 2016, the national ERDF program introduced a call for proposal for regional cluster organizations to apply for funding for interregional collaboration in Sweden. The ambition was to coordinate regional priorities in constellations of a minimum of three clusters (or RDI-platforms) from at least two Swedish regions, working within a sectorial or thematic area.
In 2017, a decision was taken to allocate €3 million to six projects in different sectors; health care, aerospace, life science, textiles/architecture, foodstuff and offshore.
Each project involves at least three regional clusters or RDI-platforms, representing different types of stakeholders e.g. cluster organizations, research institutes, universities, etc.
The projects are part of the national ERDF-program and each constellation received EU-funding of between €200 000 and €600 000. A 50% regional co-funding is required. To support the projects , the MA arrange two yearly meetings for project managers to exchange experiences and receive support.
Evidence of success
Regular monitoring takes place, but it is still too early to see the result of the collaborations initiated. In one project, a first draft of a validation model for digital health care has been developed. In another project, SMEs have received coaching and support for applying for national funding. In several projects, national collaboration has increased.
It takes more time to initiate cluster collaboration on a national than on a regional level. Particularly in cases were key actors have been replaced during the project period. Still, the method has been considered successful.
Potential for learning or transfer
This is an initiative to support interregional collaboration and develop areas of strength on a national level. There has been a great interest from regional authorities to receive national support to link regional clusters/priorities to national initiatives and funding.