According to the French website for the promotion of clusters, “a competitiveness cluster brings together large and small companies, research laboratories and educational institutions, all working together in a specific region to develop synergies and cooperative efforts on innovative joint projects aimed at specific markets”.
Actually, a competitiveness cluster is defined as a geographical concentration of businesses, training centres and public- and private-sector research units working in partnership on innovative projects. Other partners may be brought in, such as public authorities, either local or national, as well as companies providing business services.
Competitiveness clusters have the following objectives:
- Develop partnerships between the various stakeholders based on their complementary skills;
- Construct collaborative research projects that can benefit from public funding, particularly from the French Interdepartemental Fund (FUI);
- Promote an enabling environment for the innovation and competitiveness of the cluster's stakeholders thanks to presentations, knowledge-sharing and mutual support among cluster members on topics such as training and human resources, intellectual property, private-sector financing, or international development.
Beyond France, several European countries are developing competitiveness or innovation clusters in line with the goal set at the Lisbon summit in 2000 to make Europe the world’s most competitive economy.