THE INTERNATIONALIZATION STRATEGY OF BLUE TECHNOLOGY CLUSTERS: CREATING NETWORKS TO ACCELERATE TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND SCALE UP

Written by Roberto Cimino

BIG TC – INTERNATIONAL NEWSLETTER

THE INTERNATIONALIZATION STRATEGY OF BLUE TECHNOLOGY CLUSTERS: CREATING NETWORKS TO ACCELERATE TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER AND SCALE UP

Technology and Industrial Clusters are an important part of the European Industrial Policy: there are more than 3000 specialized clusters in Europe, often showing resilience in economic downturns due to the value-added created by the facilitation of crosssectoral exchange of practices and ideas (European Commission, 2021). Besides, Clusters can provide excellent opportunities for the reskilling and upskilling of people and can contribute to the economy of the regions where they operate.

Technology Clusters, in particular, have the advantage of gathering academia/research centers and firms, with a particular focus on SMEs, and can therefore accelerate both technology transfer and the scale-up and internationalization of SMEs. The portfolio of services that the excellent Clusters offer include scouting for opportunities, matchmaking among partners, acceleration of the idea-to-project and technology transfer phases, funding and reaching out to different sectors.


Their main focus lies with connecting firms of different sectors, academia/research centers and with facilitating
the involvement and growth of SMEs, also by fostering their internationalization. The Blue Italian Growth Technology Cluster (BIG TC), established in 2018 and co-financed by the Italian Ministry of Research (MUR), is aggressively being
pursuing an internationalization strategy across the Mediterranean basin, where Italy enjoys an unparalleled geographic position. Its strategy focuses on two major axes: building networks across the countries facing both Northern and Southern shore and promoting international blue projects favoring on the one hand its strong SMEs
basis and, on the other, promoting collaboration and cooperation among blue partners from different countries.


As far as the first axis is concerned, BIG TC has promoted, in 2021, along with Forum Oceano (Portugal), Cluster Maritime Tunisien (Tunisia) and Polmer (France), under the umbrella of the WestMED Initiative, the WestMED Cluster Alliance, enlarged to the eastern Med Basin to the Strategis Cluster (Greece).


As for the promotion of international projects, such network has been pivotal to have three projects approved in 2022, two within the COSME framework (see the dedicated article in this newsletter) and one within Erasmus+ program.
These three projects will allow strengthening the ties among blue Mediterranean actors across the basin,
promote capacity building on the Southern Shore and provide more than €300.000 for Italian SMEs to offer
specialized dedicated services focused on the Blue Economy.


These are only the first steps of a roadmap aimed at building bridges in the Mediterranean, promoting
dialogue and cooperation which are vital components for a common shared sphere of prosperity in our
common sea.

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