The European Commission’s Directorate General for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs is pleased to announce that the European Cluster Conference 2016 will be held in Brussels on the 30th of November – 2nd of December 2016. The conference will take place on December 1-2nd, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Rogier Hotel with a European cluster matchmaking pre-event on the 30th of November 2016.
The fifth edition of the European Cluster Conference will be an inspiring event not to be missed by policy-makers from national and regional authorities involved or interested in cluster policies and cluster practitioners. The last edition of the European Cluster Conference in 2014 gathered over 340 cluster stakeholders from across Europe. As the 2016 edition is limited to 250 participants, early registration is advised – once possible; the registration platform is expected to be open in September.
This year's conference will focus on Cluster 4.0 – Shaping Smart Industries and include high-level plenary speeches, panel discussions and interactive sessions where participants will have the chance to share their experiences and challenges. Parallel discussions will take place in four priority areas related to industrial modernisation, namely smart manufacturing and digital transformation, the circular economy, key enabling technologies, and creative and data-driven services. The parallel discussions will all cover the same key horizontal topics in different sessions. These include the role of clusters in boosting the innovation uptake and growth opportunities through strengthening cross-sectoral value chain linkages, strategic European partnering, international collaboration and skills towards shaping smart industries.
Trends and priorities for cluster policies and cluster organisations in Europe will be discussed in interactive ways. The European Cluster Observatory will present its 2016 European Cluster Panorama and the latest information on cluster support initiatives in relation to industrial modernisation will be shared. The Model Demonstrator Regions, the European Strategic Cluster Partnerships – Going International and other cluster initiatives will share their lessons learnt. The Conference will also let participants have their say on who to select for the 2016 European Cluster Manager of the Year Award and the 2016 European Strategic Cluster Partnership of the Year Award.
In conjunction with the European Cluster Conference, the European Cluster Collaboration Platform is organising a large-scale European cluster matchmaking event that will be held as a pre-event on the 30th of November 2016, also in Brussels. This will be a unique opportunity for European Clusters to explore common areas of interest for cooperation and build complementarities in terms of sectoral, value chain and market focus. The first European cluster matchmaking event organised in 2014 in conjunction with the European Cluster Conference gathered over 80 cluster organisations from 18 countries and led to a total of 170 inter-cluster meetings.
More information about the cluster matchmaking event and the separate registration process will also be made available soon on the European Cluster Collaboration Platform.