Use of EDP to develop the Strategy Plan and to design effective and high-impact projects and activities by the agro-food cluster of Castilla y León, Vitartis
The Food Industry Cluster of Castilla y León is an Innovative Business Group whose main objective is to increase food industry competitiveness in the Region, by encouraging the innovation in every field and representing the sector´s interests in different institutions.
It is made up by two kind of partners:
- Businesses: including agro-food SMEs and large companies, and food Biotechnology SMEs.
- Technology partners: Universities and Technology Centres.
EDP’s objective in the cluster is the active participation of its members in the planification and design of projects and activities
• Workgroups about topics of high interest to its members: innovation, internationalization, financing, vocational training and 4.0 technologies. Groups are coordinated by a cluster member with wide experience in the topic. The meetings' attendants propose the topic and share their approaches and concerns, creating a framework of work and cooperation where opportunities of collaborative projects grow naturally.
• Training programmes: Based on its members’ needs (gathered by e-mail or on-line surveys), Vitartis stablishes agreements with training bodies to develop specialized training for managers or technical profiles of the food industry.
• Technology Watch Service: quarterly report about a specific topic prioritized by its members by on-line consultations.
• Technology transfer and cross collaboration, trying to connect science results with food business.

Resources needed

Vitartis’ team is made up by:
Manager Director: Experience as researcher in food departments, which provides her a deep understanding of the R&D regional food ecosystem
R&D Manager: R&D public support programmes, project management.
Innovation Technician: R&D programmes, e-commerce.

Evidence of success

Members: initially 14, today more than 100.
Projects developed by the cluster: more than 35 projects since its creation (in its own and in collaboration) to encourage innovation.
Collaborative projects developed by food companies, technology centres and universities
Vitartis is recognised as the representative of food industry in the Region.
Increasing number of activities, projects, and initiatives promoted by Vitartis.
Growing number of attendants to cluster’s activities.

Difficulties encountered

Quantifying the impact of cluster’s activities: new collaborative projects among members or actions undertaken by them may emerge indirectly or be launched after some time.
The main challenge is to provide value-added services to all members, since they have different needs.

Potential for learning or transfer

The key aspects to launch initiatives of high interest for stakeholders’ involvement are:
• To stablish a methodology to map, identify and characterize stakeholders.
• To identify the most appropriate person of the organization to be the contact for the topic addressed, and to set the best communication channel.
• To involve stakeholders at early stages of the design phase of the action.
• To design activities and actions in advance enough.
• To send materials in advance, stablish a reasonable timeframe in order to allow people to organize their agendas.
• To design a communication plan, so as to keep a steady contact with the stakeholders, providing feedback about the results of the initiatives in which they have taken part.
• To facilitate the EDP process using on-line tools, as digital communication platforms, on-line consultations… and other tools that make participation quick and ease.

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Project
Main institution
Food Industry Cluster of Castilla y León
Location
Castilla y León, Spain (España)
Start Date
May 2009
End Date
Ongoing

Contact

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