Clusters are attracting more and more attention from policymakers in their quest to improve regional competitiveness. The development of world-class clusters has now also become an EU policy priority as illustrated recently by the European Commission`s Communication on “Powerful clusters: Main drivers of Europe’s competitiveness”, published on 17 October 2008.

The attractiveness of the cluster concept is closely correlated to the so-called “European paradox” describing Europe’s perceived weakness in transferring excellent research results into globally successful commercial products and services.

But it is also connected to broader issues, as highlighted by the 2009 European Year of Creativity and Innovation, such as supporting the change needed – in the public and private sector – to create the right policy mix, framework conditions, vibrant intellectual climate and ‘local ecologies’ needed for creativity and innovation.

Here follows an open invitation to all interested policy professionals and practitioners to participate at the forthcoming ERRIN event on “European Cluster Policy – What’s in it for the regions?” The event will take place on 11 December 2008 at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels.

This event will bring together EU representatives, EU policy executives, international experts, Brussels-based regional representatives as well as innovation and cluster practitioners from ERRIN member regions. It is the first of a series of ERRIN events supported by the European Commission under the umbrella of the 2009 ‘European Year of Creativity and Innovation’. The event will be moderated by Antoni Subira of the IESE Business School Barcelona.

Guiding questions for the debate are:

How local or regional are clusters, how European or global should they become?

How can successful clusters be engineered?

Can every region have a cluster of excellence?

How does EU cluster policy reflect issues of excellence vs. equity?

How can regions benefit from EU cluster policy and its pursuit of world-class clusters?

Is there a role for bottom-up cluster development?

What do practitioners in the regions expect from this initiative?

Please check the ERRIN website for the conference programme and for registration

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