to sign
Initiative to Develop a Cluster Strategy for the Danube Region
December 3rd, 2019 
Dubrovnik (Croatia)

Dear friends and colleges,
we would like to invite you to sign the Initiative to Develop a Cluster Strategy for the Danube Region. 
Why do we (=Clusters from the Danube Region) need a strategy?
As generators of innovation, higher employment and growth, clusters play an important role in the EU economy. Their role is emphasized in all EU macro-regional strategies, including the EU strategy for the Danube region which was launched in 2010. The 14 member states differ in terms of their development, especially when it comes to the innovation performance. Clusters have the potential to resolve the disbalance and increase regional competitiveness, and this is why the development of clusters is strongly supported also by the EUSDR.
In the past 9 years the Strategy has given a framework which led to the several cluster projects. One of the unexpected but common results of those projects is a fact that in spite of the development of clusters in the Danube region in recent years, there are still challenges, which are mainly connected with the issues such as funding difficulties, the lack of long-term political commitment and awarennes on the importance of the clusters' role in the regional development.
This is why the Working Group "Clusters and Regional Development", established within the Priority Area 8 "Competitivennes of Enterprises" of the EUSDR, is launching this Initiative to develop a cluster strategy which will be focused on facing challenges which are specific for the development of the clusters along the Danube Region. We invite all clusters and relevant stakeholders of the regional and industrial development to joint the initiative and support clusters of the Danube region on their way towards strengthening the SMEs and industrial development of their regions.
The signing ceremony will be organized in the framework of the international workshop Role of Clusters in the Regional Development (more information and registration link below).
Event type: Thematic international workshop on the role of clusters and industrial development of the regions
Moderator: Dr. Gerd Meier zu Köcker, International Cluster Expert
Target sectors: All industrial sectors
Target participants: Clusters, regional development, national and regional authorities, R&D and higher education
1. To highlight the benefits of an integrated approach to cluster policies and smart specialization 
2. To introduce the revised European Cluster Excellence Scheme 
3. To discuss the opportunities and challenges for cluster policies in this context
4. Exchange of experience and networking
Participation: FREE OF CHARGE (Co-organized with PA8 Competitiveness of enterprises - Danube Strategy)
08.30 - 09.00 Registration
09.00 - 09.30 Welcome speeches and introduction
09.30 - 10.45 Session I: The White Paper on Strenghtening the Capacities of the Clusters
10.45 - 11.00 Coffee break
11.00 - 12.30 Session II: Role of Clusters in the Industrial Development of the Regions
12.30 - 12.45 The signing ceremony of the Initative to Develop a Cluster Strategy for the Danube Region
12.45 - 13.30 Lunch
13.30 - 14.45 Session III: The new criteria / indicators of the ESCA Labelling Approach 
14.45 - 15.00 Wrap up and closing
Registration link for the Workshop Clusters and Regional Development...
Smart specialisation strategies are key elements of a new, more result-oriented Cohesion Policy focusing on growth through innovation, which is now being implemented. It helps regions at different stages of development to focus on their strengths, to position themselves in global value chains and to team up to build strategic partnerships across Europe with other regions that have complementary strength in similar priority areas.
 Clusters and cluster policies can facilitate this process and help to maximise the impact of the EUR 121 billion of European Structural and Investment Funds allocated to investment in research and innovation guided by smart specialisation strategies. The implementation of these strategies promises to trigger industrial modernisation processes and create more productive, diversified and resilient economies. It should in particular contribute to providing small and medium-sized enterprises – the backbone of the EU economy – with better support and investment opportunities.

The workshop is organized as a side event of the Adriatic Wood Days, an international conference on forest-based industries, bioeconomy, and related policies and EU funding. Don't miss the additional opportunity to learn about the projects and good practicies related to the role of biomass in the regional development, as well how can forest-based industries support development of bioeconomy in your region!
More information on AWD 2019...
We are looking forward to welcome you to the beautiful City of Dubrovnik!
Kind regards,
Working Group Clusters and Regional Development (PA8 "Competitiveness of enterprises", Strategy for the Danube Region)
Kršnjavoga 1 (Westin/II), HR - 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
T: +385 1 6329 111 - F: +385 1 6329 113 - GSM: +385 91 539 7683