Collective Efficiency Strategies promoted innovation and qualification and have encouraged cooperation and networking between companies and other actors.
The Portuguese Managing Authority of the Thematic Factors of Competitiveness Operational Programme – COMPETE, included in the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), created in 2009 the Collective Efficiency Strategies (CES). These Strategies have encouraged cooperation and networking among companies and between companies and other relevant actors – educational and R&D institutions, training, technical assistance, business associations, etc.
A CES is a set of consistent and strategically justified initiatives integrated into an Action Programme that is aimed at the innovation, qualification and modernisation of an aggregation of enterprises with a national, regional or local presence that foster the structured emergence of agglomeration economies via, namely, cooperation and networking for the development of the sectors to which they belong and the territories in which they are based.
The main goals of this measure may be summarised as follows:
(1) to foster linkages among relevant players in the national or regional innovation system;
(2) to encourage ambitious collaborative R&D and innovation initiatives with an international scope;
(3) to leverage behavioural change in the industries, fields or regions concerned.
The NSRF planned the establishment of four different types of CES: Competitiveness and Technology Poles (PCT); Other Clusters; Programmes for the Economic Enhancement of Endogenous Resources (PROVERE); Urban Regeneration and Development Actions (ARDU).
In programming period 2007-2013, 19 clusters were established. The clusters’ defined priorities and agendas were able to mobilize from the economic actors an overall investment of 1 577 M€, which was co-funded by different instruments from NSRF, corresponding to an overall incentive of 893 M€.
Evidence of success
This good practice addressed direct needs of companies and economic sectors, so different clusters established different priorities.
In programming period 2007-2013, 19clusters and 1137 projects were funded, involving 1497 partners, an overall investment of 1577M€ and incentives of 893M€.
By addressing to market failures and by foreseeing prioritization and the articulation of actors within established priorities, CES enabled the reach of critical mass towards wider impacts in the economy.
The need to resort to different funding instruments in the deployment of the clusters’ multi-annual programmes, introduced a higher complexity in their management, while imposing a continuous monitoring funding opportunities, and revealed funding gaps and needs in the streamlining of instruments.
Potential for learning or transfer
The CES enabled the stakeholders articulation, within the several economy's value chains, in the definition, deployment and implementation of strategic agendas, which, encompassing cooperation and industry capacitation domains, R&D and Innovation (including cross-fertilization, transfer and diffusion), intelligence and strategic information, visibility and internationalization, have contributed to overcome coordination and market failures, to gather critical masses and to foster extended impacts throughout the economy.
By integrating in its architecture not only individual actors (e.g. SMEs, large companies, RTOs) but also industry associations, networks and platforms, public bodies and others, the reach and involvement of stakeholders was transversal to the economy.
As such, clusters are key stakeholders in policy definition, and notably within the smart specialization strategies.
PRODUTECH and Health Cluster Portugal are excellent examples of the success of CES.
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