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Coming soon

When we started the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis at the end of 2011 we focused on the implementation of the labelling scheme that was developed under the European Cluster Excellence Initiative. The scheme is a huge success – more than 950 cluster organisations from more than 40 countries have yet participated in a Bronze, Silver or Gold Label audit. A huge success also because of a huge and committed network of experts all across Europe, who are eager to help cluster management organisations with professional advice. We are sure that this success will continue in the future. We are very happy that the European Commission decided to provide assistance for the further development of the labelling scheme in order to adapt it to a changing economic and political framework under which cluster organisations have to operate today: increased internationalisation and smart specialisation are just two out of many other terms that capture the new developments. Soon we will communicate what we will do together with committed and experienced stakeholders to take the existing labelling scheme to the next level. This is only one new development.

The other new development is that in recent years ESCA experts have started to look beyond cluster organisations by applying a broader view on regional development. Regional development has been a key element of economic policies ever since. The OECD puts the situation of corresponding policies in a nutshell by writing that regional development policies complement national macroeconomic and structural policies to reduce regional disparities by supporting (employment and wealth-generating) economic activities in regions. While in the past regional development policy tended to achieve these objectives by means of large-scale infrastructure development and by attracting inward investment, a new approach to regional development is emerging: one that promises a more effective use of public resources and significantly better policy outcomes. This involves a shift away from redistribution and subsidies for lagging regions in favor of measures to increase the competitiveness of all regions. And this goes way beyond labelling of cluster management organisations as this is about shaping new policy frameworks.

In order to communicate these two branches of ESCA – cluster labelling and policy advice on regional development – in a clear way we have decided to rename ESCA. Soon we will go public with the new European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis and Regional Development (ESCARD). But as we are very excited about this we would already at this stage pre-announce this change. Stay tuned! We are looking very much forward to this!





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.


New publication by the European Cluster Observatory: The Smart Guide to Cluster Policy

Call for the expression of interest: Towards European Strategic Cluster Partnerships for smart specialisation investments

NEWIN – The New England Water Innovation Network: as first US cluster organisation awarded with the Bronze Label of Cluster Management Excellence

Annual Meeting of the Cluster Excellence Expert Group in Munich, September 15th, 2015


New study: CLUSTER MANAGEMENT EXCELLENCE IN MEXICO - Mexican Information Technology Clusters in Comparison with European Peers

ESCA paper presented at stakeholder workshop of DG ENTRE of the European Commission on "Moving forward the EU policy agenda on cluster excellence - Lessons learned and new challenges at policy and operational level", Brussels, September 23rd, 2014

Cluster Monitor Germany - Trends and Prospects of Clusters in Germany

New study: Clusters and what role they can play in promoting cross-innovation between creative and "traditional" industries

New study: New approaches to improve the performance of cluster management organisations in Europe

French Government published benchmarking report of ESCA that was prepared in the context of the evaluation of the French cluster programme "Pôles de compétitivité"

In the context of the evaluation of the French cluster programme "Pôles de compétitivité" ESCA benchmarked 71 cluster organisation that are supported under the scheme. For further information please see the website of the programme. The report can be downloaded here.

For further information about our work please see our publications


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