Athlone based SME, The Cluster Centre, will lead the launch of a milestone All-Island study on industry clustering on Monday, March 28.
The Cluster Research Network (CRN ) will launch its study ‘Clustering on the island of Ireland: A Gap analysis’ on Monday next at 2pm. CRN is a pioneering cross-border partnership comprising Athlone-based The Cluster Centre, Ulster University, University College Cork and Munster Technological University.
Ahead of the report launch, Athlone native Clodagh Barry, Director of the Cluster Centre, stated that the All-Island report is a real milestone in the strategic examination of clustering and how to better integrate the cluster infrastructure both North and South.
“Strong industry clusters are recognised as a very valuable economic tool for companies and industry sectors, for regional development and for national competitiveness.
“We know clustering is a proven mechanism when it comes to jobs and income growth, innovation performance and for regions to develop employment specialisations,” Ms Barry remarked.
Clodagh said that the location of The Cluster Centre in the Midlands provides a unique connection and perspective on the all-island opportunities for clustering.
“The connections with Cluster Managers, SMEs, Development Agencies, Regional Assemblies and Government is supported against a backdrop of operating as an SME in a regional locality.
“We live in an extremely fast-paced world as we can see with the Covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine. We need to respond in a new way to whatever challenges are being presented and this poses the question: is the existing system fit for purpose.? If we look at other countries, we can see how clustering is responding to these transitions and the changing landscape,” Ms Barry continued.
The CRN study ‘Clustering on the island of Ireland: A Gap analysis’ will be formally launched online on Monday by leading global academic, Dr Christian Ketels of Harvard Business School faculty at the Professor Michael E. Porter’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness in Boston.
The report is based on valuable feedback from more than 100 key stakeholders North and South including State agencies, Government Departments, regional assemblies and local authorities.
Provided through the holding of six stakeholder workshops between September and November last, the feedback helped identify and understand current cluster challenges, cluster opportunities, as well as barriers to the strategic development and operation of clusters on the island of Ireland.
This partnership between the CRN and The Cluster Centre in Athlone brought together an all-island network of stakeholders, including state agencies, policy makers, local government, academics and researchers, cluster managers and cluster member, to examine cluster opportunities and challenges in a common forum.
In recent decades the development and promotion of existing and emerging clusters has become an instrumental and accepted part of industrial policy globally.