The relevance of Clusters in promoting smart regional economic development is widely recognised across the EU: clusters play a crucial role in promoting competitiveness and innovation, in generating knowledge and translating it into new services and products, in creating jobs and stimulating growth.

High level cluster management is the key element to fully unleash this potential, as already proven by the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI) which demonstrated the existence of a direct causal relationship between the quality of the strategies and services of cluster management organizations and the effects on business, R&D and international activities of cluster participants.

In this sense this project aims at strengthening cluster management in 4 European regions – Canary Islands in Spain, Molise in Italy, East Marmara in Turkey and North-West Romanie - by using the results and training products developed by the ECEI. On the basis of an analysis of the state of play in each region in terms of cluster management and cluster support policies, the ClustArs project will focus on building capacity and fostering skills of officers of regional development agencies for the benchmarking of clusters and of cluster managers.