Eight National Technology Clusters have been created to promote a more efficient integration between national and regional policies on research and innovation, enhancing the inter-institutional forms of aggregations in line with EU guidelines, thanks to the Public Notice Development and Enhancement of National Technology Clusters by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR).
In the innovation ecosystem, National Technology Clusters are one of the development and consolidation tools of the scientific and technological research strategies provided by the National Research Plan drawn up by the Ministry of Education.
Indeed, the Clusters are public-private aggregations made up of companies, universities, public and private research institutions, and technology districts operating in various Italian regions, with a focus on a specific area of technology and application, which is of strategic interest to Italys industrial system.
The Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) through Directorial Decree No. 257/Ric of 30 May 2012 starting with the existing scientific and technology parks and districts, has promoted the creation and development of National Technology Clusters as collaborative innovation models to boost local economic and sustainable growth.
The 8 National Technology Clusters make up a broad and inclusive network of Italian excellence, operating throughout the country in strategic technology areas, including: Intelligent Factory, Green Chemistry, Life Sciences, Transport and Systems for Shipping by Land and Sea, Agrifood, Aerospace, Technologies for Smart Communities, Smart Living Technologies.
The Cluster stakeholders collaborate and develop innovative projects in order to rise to the social challenges of modern communities, helping to spread Italys research and innovation priorities. The National Technology Clusters recognised as the main tool for achieving the public-public sector coordination objectives (State-Regions-Local Government) are also entrusted with the task of setting out shared technological roadmaps on a national level.
In line with the priorities set out by the European Research Framework Programme Horizon 2020 and based on the assessments carried out by international experts in science and technology, the winning projects represent the best models of collaboration between the public and private sectors, and have a high level of internationalisation.
Altogether, there are 456 participants in the Clusters: 112 come from the world of research (universities, public research bodies, healthcare institutions of a scientific nature) and 344 come from industry (including 140 large companies and 204 small and medium-sized companies). The selected projects have generated a total investment demand of approximately 310 million euro. The subsidies granted amount to around 266 million euro, paid as a contribution towards expenses and subsidised credit facility.
Based on the Agreement with the Ministry of Education, Invitalia is supporting the General Directorate for the Coordination, Promotion and Enhancement of Research in the management of the Public Notice aimed at facilitating the creation and development of National Technology Clusters, right from the application submission stage.
Invitalia is currently providing administrative and technical support to the Ministry of Education departments engaged in managing and implementing the Notice, with particular regard to the verifications carried out by scientific and technical experts and affiliated credit institutions of the beneficiaries and payments.
Whats more, Invitalia is helping to the prepare and manage the inter-institutional agreements between the Ministry of Education and other regional administrations involved, as well as to process the data and information on the Cluster Notice. The Ministry of Education, University and Research plans to reinforce and complete the national policy on National Technology Clusters, which set outs platforms to ensure greater and improved integration between the system of research, industry and new entrepreneurship, encouraging the creation and development of additional areas of strategic interest for the country: Energy, Design-Creativity-Made in Italy, Blue Growth and Cultural Heritage - on top of those of the existing Clusters.