Cluster Policy in Germany

The German cluster initiatives and networks are a supporting pillar for the competitiveness of the national economy. Already today, cluster initiatives and networks from Germany are considered among the strongest players in international comparison. Over the past years, in order to further boost their excellence, a number of cluster policy measures have been introduced and implemented at national and federal state level.

Cluster policy measures in Germany: From their initiation to their professionalization!

The German cluster initiatives and networks pave the way for innovations and reflect the high level of German expertise in numerous technology and business fields. With the aim of supporting their business activities, a number of cluster policy measures have been initiated and implemented at national and federal state level since the mid-1990s.

At national level, support is particularly provided by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology with its program "go-cluster: Exzellent vernetzt!" as well as by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research organising the Leading-Edge Cluster Competition under the Federal Government's Hightech Strategy aiming to promote the development of efficient cluster structures.

For a compact and clear display of all support measures in place for clusters at national, federal state and EU level, in 2013, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology together with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research established the joint information portal on cluster policy, Cluster Platform Germany. This platform is meant to address all interested parties within the country and abroad wishing to inform about cluster-related issues, notably stakeholders from cluster policy at national, federal state and regional level as well as cluster managers, cluster participants and diverse actors from economy, science, related policy fields, business promotion or regional development. The platform moreover aims to initiate an intensive exchange of experiences about the introduced measures, their further development and possibilities of impact assessment through a joint effort. In addition, the Cluster Platform Germany is used to regularly present German success stories.

Given Germany's federal structures, cluster policy measures are also implemented under the initiative of the 16 state governments with the aim of supporting the development of efficient clusters. Hereby, the individual strengths of the respective regions with regard to specific technology, economy and innovation competencies as well as existing structures and particularities are taken into account. The individual programs at federal state level include for example the financial support of cluster management organisations, the funding of innovation projects, training activities or and joint public relations.