What are National Technology Clusters
National Technology Clusters are broad and inclusive networks made up of the major public and private entities operating throughout the country and focused on industrial research, training and technology transfer: enterprises, universities, public and private research institutions, start-up incubators and other players active in the field of innovation. Each aggregation focuses on a specific technology and application area of strategic interest to Italy, of which it represents excellence in terms of skills, knowledge, facilities, networks and potential.
Why create clusters?
In 2012, the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR), in line with the priorities set by the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020, promoted the creation and development of National Technology Clusters, with the objective to:
- simultaneously mobilize the excellences of the industrial system, the world of research and regional and national Public Administrations on shared themes identified as priorities and strategic for the Country in the long and medium term;
- promote the sharing and transfer of knowledge and skills between the different actors of the industrial and research system;
- optimize the use of public and available economic resources;
- improve the ability to attract investment and talent, also through internationalization processes;
- promote sustainable economic growth of the regions and the entire national economic system;
- play an important role at European and international level in research and innovation;
- enhance Made in Italy
This process also involved regional administrations, called to financially support complementary and/or functional activities to the development and enhancement of Clusters, in the context of specific Programme Agreements with MIUR.
What are the strategic areas?
Each National Technology Cluster is aimed at one of the following areas considered of strategic interest to the national industry.
- Aerospace: promotion and enhancement of all technology areas relevant to the Aerospace industry, with special regard to the dual use of technologies that can have civil applications and a strong social impact.
- Agrifood: development of knowledge and technology for the production of safer and more genuine quality foods, also of marine origin, through improved sustainability and reduced environmental impact of the resources used.
- Green Chemistry: development of second and third generation biomass processing technologies (“sustainable non-food” biomass) in green energy and chemistry.
- Smart Factory: development and application of innovative technologies to enhance innovation and specialization of national manufacturing production systems, in terms of production, organization and distribution.
- Means and systems for surface and marine mobility: promoting the development of innovative means and systems for eco-friendly surface mobility, with the aim to improve intermodal transport, to increase competitiveness of production and management firms in full respect of the environment and natural resources.
- Life Sciences: production of new drugs and assistive therapies at low costs for human health; implementation of innovative diagnostic approaches for particularly critical illnesses, with a view to improving and extending people’s active lives.
- Technologies for Living Environments: development of highly innovative knowledge, technological solutions, plants, buildings and products which, within the frameworks of Ambient Intelligence and Ambient Assisted Living, allow the redesign of living environments to foster inclusion, safety and eco-sustainability.
- Technologies for Smart Communities: development of advanced application technology solutions to implement innovative models of social integration for solving social problems on an urban and metropolitan scale.
What do they do?
The National Technology Clusters are permanent coordination, consultation and reference tools for the development of proposals and strategies to be adopted to accelerate innovation processes and improve the Country’s industrial competitiveness.
The Clusters have the following tasks:
- Lead the process of strategic positioning of our production system in the international technology landscape;
- Welcome, in a coordinated and organic way, the best experiences and skills existing both at local and national level, promoting the inclusion of all the organizations operating in the specific sectors wishing to join in;
- create synergies between different industrial sectors on the same types of technology;
- promote stable connection and interaction between fields, policies, measures and tools at national, regional and local level;
- enhance strategic programmes of research, technological development and innovation in line with national and international programmes, in particular the National Smart Specialization Strategy (NSSS) and the EU Programme Horizon 2020;
- create the conditions for improving the capacity to attract investment and talent.
- Directorial Decree no. 257 of 30 May 2012 – Notice “Development and Enhancement of National Technology Clusters”
- Directorial Decree no. 414 of 12 July 2012 – Modifications and Additions of D.D. 257/Ric./2012
- Directorial Decree no. 18 of 14 December 2012 – Approval of lists
- Directorial Decree no. 1883 of 11 October 2013 – Lists of the funded National Technology Clusters and Projects