Clusters - geographic concentrations of interconnected firms and supporting organisations – represent a potential source of productivity and economic growth at a moment of regional and national vulnerability due to the recent economic crisis and, more generally, to global economic competition. A major challenge is to generate sustainable, well-paid jobs for a large number of workers. This requires a high and increasing level of productivity. Clusters represent a valuable source of needed innovation, knowledge transfer and economic prosperity of regions and firms. In general, the most successful clusters have emerged as a result of cluster initiatives.
The aim of the conference is to foster experience-sharing and best practices, to promote knowledge exchanges as well as to be able, at the end of the day, to identify future opportunities for clusters as drivers of competitiveness, and this through the various session presentations and debates on existing cluster policies and management practices, thus disseminating elements of vital concern to all delegates present. The participation of cluster managers, programme managers, policy-makers and various key stakeholders operating on an international level will contribute to achieving the conference aims.
This conference will be attended by MOC Harvard Business School affiliates members, academics, cluster managers, economic and investment promotion leaders, business CEOs and firm managers belonging to existing clusters or contemplating to play a key role in favour of development of emerging clusters as well as government representatives in charge of economic development at the regional and at the national level.
A specific focus on cluster theory and defining clusters for the Limerick Region will open this 3rd International Cluster Conference (Session 1). This session will close with smart recommendations for policy-makers. The second session on the first day will consider the regional impact of cluster initiatives with case studies including the Bavarian Cluster initiative in Germany and the Danish Cluster initiative. Day two of the conference will be opened by Limerick City & County Council, and the Science and Technology Center of the Canton of Fribourg (PST-FR) (Session 3), and will comprise of two parallel sessions. Parallel session A will focus on Cluster Experiences including the Logistics Initiative in Hamburg, the Food Valley in the Netherlands, and the Information, Communication & Technology cluster in Ireland. Session B will focus on success stories on cluster management with key note speakers from Austria, New Zealand and Ireland, with specific reference to the main challenges faced and overcome in each case. The final keynote speech (Session 5) a discussion and exchange on the impact of building competitiveness through smart specialisation strategy, will conclude this conference.