In view of the future and widely-covered territorial reorganization of Romania, we consider clusters an important vector for job creation, the development of synergies between industries, new innovation capacities and, last but not least, the opening of new markets.
Although this organizational model is heavily promoted at the European level, market fragmentation, the under-developed ties between industry and the research field and insufficient cooperation within the European Union are obstacles to creating a critical mass that can face global competition in a sustainable manner.
At a national level, clusters in Romania have not yet reached the maturity level that is necessary for optimizing activities, as they are still in the preliminary phase of planning and consolidating the relationship among members towards innovative services.
In view of the future European financial planning over 2014-2020, Romania has sent the European Commission a preliminary document identifying three important areas for clusters: the development of public and private research infrastructure, support for the ICT investments, and promoting the integration of SMEs within clusters.
In our vision, clusters need to adopt a coherent governance model in order to ensure the efficiency of their planned activities. This can be achieved either by creating a performing management entity at a cluster level, or by outsourcing it to already eligible structures. Managerial training should be an item on every cluster’s to-do list.
Also, the development of strategic directions and the clusters’ action plan need to be aligned to the national and European public agenda for cluster development. When launching the priorities of the Europa 2020 strategy, the European Commission also presented a concept for smart specialization sectors structured as a logical system for industrial innovation. The concept is still not familiar enough in Romania, and the local authorities and related ministries will need to identify those technology areas or segments with major competitive advantages as soon as possible, in order to focus on the required regional policies to promote innovation in the identified areas.
New business development opportunities and new strategic partnership alliances aimed at stimulating technology transfer either in conjunction with other cluster structures or with research institutes from other countries are the proper framework for consolidating innovating capacities and offering the extremely important access to international markets.
We believe that the state authorities will play a major role on both the national and local level, in the near future, as they should focus efforts to ensure a favorable context for the development of these organizational structures. Clusters should represent more than a means to attract European funds, but rather a national assumed target for revitalizing regional economies.
Madeline Alexander, Partner in Charge – Deloitte AERS
Mircea-Nicolae Cotoros, EU Funds Manager – Deloitte AERS