French Competiveness Clusters: A Multipurpose Policy Instrument
The French government launched, in 2005, a 3-year policy of competitiveness clusters (pôles de competitivité), which has since then been extended for the period of 2009 to 2012. It is one of the most important recent innovation policies in the country. Theoretically, a competitiveness cluster brings together large and small firms, research laboratories, and educational establishments with the support of the national and regional government, to work together in a specific region to develop synergies and cooperative efforts. The primary objective of this initiative is to boost the competitiveness of the French economy and to help develop growth and jobs in key markets namely by accelerating innovation efforts, providing support for high-tech and creative activities, and improving international visibility. Active partnerships among the cluster members should contribute to fostering synergies of the sector or technology underlying the cluster. Cluster members are eligible for direct financial aid, tax incentives, and privileges for accessing funding sources. France has now 71 competitiveness clusters and €4.3 billion over 6 years has been dedicated by the public sector to support these initiatives. The competitiveness cluster is a multipurpose policy instrument. It is a convergence of research and development (R&D), industrial, and innovation cluster instruments. This policy not only promotes an outward looking (export-oriented) economic policy for French firms but also constitutes a shift from a top-down to a bottom-up philosophy with competition orientation between initiatives at the regional level. This chapter shall analyze the impact of the public and private partnerships of the competitiveness cluster policy on cooperative research and development (R&D) activities, creation and growth of knowledge-based small and medium enterprises, and the creation of local innovation ecosystem.
KeywordsEurope Marketing Expense
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