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Support Actions for the Emergence of a Research Driven Automotive Cluster in West Romania

Final Report Summary - WESTEER (Support actions for the emergence of a research driven automotive cluster in West Romania)

The 'Support actions for the emergence of a research-driven automotive cluster in West Romania' (WESTEER) project was approved in the FP7-REGIONS-2007-2 call for proposals of the Seventh Framework Programme. This call is part of the specific programme 'Capacities', under the initiative 'Regions of Knowledge'. The project was funded by the European Commission under the grant agreement No. 205887.

WESTEER was implemented in the period 1 March 2008-28 February 2010 by a project consortium made from: Regional Development Agency of the West Region Romania (lead partner), 'Politehnica' University from Timisoara, Interpart Production and the Association Tehimpuls - Regional Centre for Innovation and Technology Transfer.

Among the most important results delivered by the project are:
- Improved understanding and increased capacity for policy actions concerning the dynamics of the automotive sector at regional, as expressed in the consolidated report concerning the automotive sector (deliverable No. 1).
- High level of support among policy makers and a region-wide consensus supporting the cluster initiative, partially achieved through the implementation of a of relevant regional stakeholders (through a variety of communication and information actions) and creation of a region-wide consensus in support of the cluster development initiative.
- A full-fledged institutional capacity to act with cluster-type instruments and policies in support of the automotive sector at regional level, achieved with the setting-up and full operationalisation of the cluster management unit. The strategic objectives of the cluster (embodying also the regional-wide policy consensus) is expressed in the multi-annual action and business plan of the cluster (deliverable No. 9).
- A significantly increased capacity at regional level to enhance science and technology based development, with a special focus on the automotive sector, as well as amplified synergy between regional and research policies, with a closer cooperation between R&D entities and enterprises and more R&D results brought to the benefit of SMEs. Thus, the project has added new valuable new resource infrastructure in the area of research - industry cooperation at regional level (the data base on R&D institutions - deliverable No. 2, the roadmap on future cooperation between R&D institutions and firms, - deliverable No.3 the firm data base - deliverable No.6) and has implemented a complex set of activities in support of a research-industry pilot project or fostering cooperation between research entities and SMEs in areas of highest relevance for the local SMEs (such as the workshops focused on CNC-issues, deliverable No.8).

A substantially enhanced capacity to communicate among cluster stakeholders as well as with relevant external actors through the efficient communication instruments put in place by the project, such as the virtual communication platform (deliverable No.5) the cluster newsletter (deliverable No.7) and specific promotion and marketing materials (deliverable No. 10).
- High level of inter-linking between emergent automotive cluster with European clusters and integration in relevant networks, favouring the mentoring of the newly established cluster through experienced European partners and the exchange of information and transfer of good practices in the area of cluster development.

WESTEER has had a substantial impact on the policy and socio-economic environment in west region, as it has brought a critical contribution to the establishment of a new institutional actor which is bound to have a long term impact on the pattern of economic development, the overall economic performance in the region, as well as on the activity of key socio-economic actors in west region and the overall embeddedness of west region in relevant European structures and networks.