The value of a company is nowadays significantly affected by its network activities. Many companies expect heavy seas ahead through the current economic situation. Studies show, that it is important nowadays to have powerful networks to be more innovative and competitive than other companies. In order to set-up and implement coherent economical development strategies, it is essential for the European Polymer Converting Industry (EPCI) to structure and support its economical development on the basis of its local/regional clusters. The CLUSTERPLAST-Project will aim to achieve this goal through setting up a Joint Action Plan (JAP) dedicated to support actions common to 6 European regions.
Current economic situation of the European Polymer Converting Industry (EPCI)
The EPCI is one of the major European industries which represents 50,000 companies, 85% of them are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This sector is facing great international competition by low cost countries as well as high technology countries. In order to overcome these challenges the EPCI has to use its full potential for an economic and sustainable development. The industry is characterized by a regional distribution of competences across Europe and many very successful local/regional research-driven clusters.
These clusters and networks give companies the possibility to be together more competitive. Not only the economic situation became worse for companies, also product life cycles are getting shorter. Therefore companies are forced to develop new products faster, which is easier with good partners. Regional clusters and their activities are positioned well in some areas, but today no adequate action goes beyond regional success stories to enable synergies at European scale with special focus on SMEs.
CLUSTERPLAST brings regions closer together
The overall target of CLUSTERPLAST is to help European regions from the EPCI to meet the challenges of changes in the global economy. The Project's goal is the setting up of a 'Joint Action Plan' dedicated to the creation of synergies between regions. The project will profit from the experience of three existing research-driven clusters which comprise the important triangle research – business – local/regional authority acting as motor of the cluster activities: CLUSTERLAND (Austria), PROPLAST (Italy), PLASTIPOLIS (France).
Thanks to these existing clusters, the project will promote the creation of three new clusters:
- ZLINSKY KRAJ (TICZLIN, PLASTR, Czech Republic),
- MARINHA-GRANDE (CENTIMFE, CEFAMOL, OPEN, IST, MARINHA-GRANDE, Portugal),
- PROVINCIA DE VALENCIA (UA, IMPIVA, AVEP, Spain).
The CLUSTERPLAST consortium aims high
Together the clusters will gather necessary knowledge, RTD infrastructures, entrepreneurship and political will to establish a consistent and viable 'Joint Action Plan'. This plan will also serve as main guidance for the development of other European regional clusters involved in the EPCI. To validate the 'Joint Action Plan' and evaluate the possible impact of it CLUSTERPLAST will disseminate the project results towards relevant European regions. There will be a special focus on dissemination towards SMEs as they are very important for economic life and influence the economic development of regions significantly.
The CLUSTERPLAST project will affect strategic impacts in various fields. The overall target is to improve cooperation between regional authorities, research entities and local business communities as well as the reinforcement of knowledge-based economic development and competitiveness. The structure of the EPCI might be improved in order to provide more effective investments furthermore mentoring and mutual learning aspects in the project might affect the industry.