The Clust-ER GREENTECH is an association of public and private bodies that share skills, ideas and resources to support the sector competitiveness.
7 are the Clust-ERs co-founded by the Emilia-Romagna Region and now they are key players in the regional innovation ecosystem coordinated by ART-ER, the Emilia-Romagna consortium for innovation and technology transfer. The main goal of the Clust-ERs is being a place of CO-DESIGN between the companies, the research centres and the training institutions, to increase the competitiveness of the regional production system in its strategic sectors, defined by the Regional S3 – Smart Specialization Strategy.
The GREENTECH Clust-ER in particular operates transversally, acting as a fuel through which the other Clust-ERs can move towards innovation and a sustainable future.
The cluster started in 2017 with 23 members, and has grown to 80 members, with good participation from the private sector (54% of the members are enterprises). The association focuses on two Value Chains representing the Emilia-Romagna energy and sustainability system: the “Low Carbon Economy” value chain and the “Environmental Sustainability and Ecosystem Services” value chain.
In 2019, 9 WORKING GROUPS have been set-up, involving all the members with skills and interest in specific technologies/innovative solutions, relevant to the Value Chain. Each WG needs to engage at least one private company interested in investing in innovative technologies / solutions.
It also collaborates with no-member entities, such as associations, universities and schools, to carry out dissemination and training activities.
A full-time manager, a communication officer (freelance) and a board member responsible for energy (freelance). Membership relies on a fee of €1000 and an annual fee of €500 (halved for small enterprises and start-ups). Fees cover 30% of the budget, funded also by ROP-ERDF and one European project.
Evidence of success
In 2020, GREENTECH was awarded with the “Cluster Management Excellence Label BRONZE – Striving for Cluster Excellence”.
Two of the recent thematic working groups (Hydrogen and Power-to-Gas) have already presented position papers to the Regional Policy Maker to express the commitment of their members to build in the Region strategic demonstration plant about innovative technologies and to get the Region committed to implement and eventually co-finance it through PPP-Public Private Partnership.
It is challenging to engage business companies, research centres and training institutions. It’s pivotal to make them understand and trust each other, so that they can take advantage of each other's knowledge and skills, collaborating trough an open innovation approach.
Potential for learning or transfer
The Clust-ER boosts local resources (human, instrumental, financial) and pushes innovation through a co-design process.
The members are steadily growing, companies outside the region asked to join the cluster and benefit from networking and lobbying.
Communication is a key success factor: to do it right, the association has to be flexible, using different way to communicate depending on the target audience.
It is important to have technical know-how to be convincing and useful, and it is very important to stay up-to-date on technological innovations and sector strategies.
Members are requested to work in one of the core cluster’s sectors, to be interested in doing collaborative innovation. They can be physical or not physical persons.
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