LITEK cluster is an example how cross-sectoral cooperation and employment of KETs can support an engagement of companies into innovative value chains.
Laser and Engineering technologies cluster LITEK was established in 2011 but cooperation between science and SMEs started more than 20 years ago. Manufacturers of laser systems in cooperation with scientific institutions began to develop unique products in the field of photonics. Companies of LITEK together with scientific institutions understood that combining different areas of knowledge, close cooperation, interdisciplinary (in photonics and engineering fields) sharing ideas and convenient business environment are one of the main reasons for more efficient business operations and growing results. Being a part of the cluster allows its members not to compete with each other but by combining resources and knowledge direct all the energy for the competition in international markets and easier enter new ones.
LITEK is coordinated by “Science and Technology Park of Institute of Physics” and consists of more than ten companies and organizations operating in laser and photonics related engineering technologies fields, carrying out joint R&D and Innovation oriented projects.
Networking is one of a key factor for success in business. Members of LITEK cooperate by sharing knowledge, ideas, discussing technological challenges and developing common technologies. Cluster members help each other to find technological partners, looking for cross-sectorial contact points, enabling to use the potential of laser and engineering technologies sector.
LITEK training and research center – 2,54 M EUR
Reinforcement of International Competitiveness of LITEK - 504,3 k€
Strengthening of LITEK synergy - 124,3 k€
Investments in R&D activities implementing projects by members of LITEK using ERDF funding (2017) - 2,26 M €, etc.
Evidence of success
LITEK members finished ELI-ALPS project and produced 4 M Euro worth ultra-short pulse laser SYLOS. Company "Ekspla" together with the US “National Energetics” carry out another 40 M US dollar project.
Joint forces let cluster companies participated in the largest international photonics and laser events (SPIE Photonics West 2018, 1300 companies, 23000 exhibitors), to participate in EU funding programmes on innovation and become a recognized global player and enter international value chains.
A challenge encountered during the establishment of LITEK was to build a trust among cluster members that they start to collaborate sharing experience, expertise and knowledge. It took some time to establish an international network and become recognized partner at European and international level.
Potential for learning or transfer
LITEK is an example how cross-sectoral and cross-cluster cooperation employing KETs can assist SMEs to develop their business and become recognized international players. The cluster was formed using a bottom-up approach. It became possible due to the direct links established by individual cluster members with their counterparts along the relevant value chains. These business-to-business contacts matching the complementarities of other companies involved along the supply chains become the initiators of cross-cluster cooperation. The cooperation of different profile cluster members created added value for their production and helped to enter the international markets and value networks.
Small but targeted public investments helped LITEK to establish training and research center, strengthen synergy among members of cluster, improve excellence of cluster and encouraged to go to international markets to become a recognized global player in laser and engineering markets.
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