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The European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA)

As part of the EU efforts to create more world-class clusters across the EU by strengthening cluster excellence, the Commission launched in 2009, under the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme, the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI). To continue the successful work of this pan-European initiative which involved 13 partners from nine European countries ESCA - The European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis was established by one of the partners, VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH, to offer practical advice to cluster management organizations. Today, ESCA is a network of cluster experts from more than 30 countries.

Clusters are complex and dynamic structures that are subject to continuous change. Strong clusters can promote economic growth through leveraging the innovation and business potential of a region. New employment opportunities, new products and services, new companies, new R&D activities and new patents can be the result of activities within a cluster. A professional cluster management can contribute to such a development through projects and services that tap into the cluster's potential. The European Cluster Excellence Initiative, initiated by the European Commission DG Enterprise and Industry, developed methodologies and tools to support cluster organisations to improve their capacities and capabilities in the management of clusters and networks. Being members of the European Cluster Excellence Initiative 13 project partners from nine European countries - all well experienced in the field of cluster management and support - created a uniform set of cluster management quality indicators and developed a quality labeling system for professional cluster management with the aim to get this methodology and proof of quality accepted all over Europe.

In this context ESCA offers services in two areas:

  1. ESCA promotes cluster management excellence through benchmarking and quality labelling of clusters and cluster management organizations. ESCA has been mandated by the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI) to organise the assessment process.
  2. ESCA supports cluster policy makers and programme owners with advice on cluster programme development.