Transnational EU-project CE4BIG on cluster management excellence and SME support draws to a close

In the framework of CE4BIG (Cluster Excellence for Business, Innovation and Growth in the health sector), supported by the EU COSME Programme, four European healthcare clusters joined forces: Atlanpole Biotherapies from France, BioM from Germany, BioWin from Belgium and Klaster Life Science Krakow from Poland. The aim of the project was to build up cluster management excellence and to optimise cluster services for SMEs in the personalized medicine sector. Despite the fact that the CE4BIG project ran almost entirely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – from February 2020 to February 2022 – it has nonetheless contributed to stimulating innovation, mainly through virtual exchanges and SME trainings. The four health clusters benefited from focussing on need-driven SME innovation and growth services, and evaluated and enhanced their cluster management strategies.

A European network focussing on personalized medicine
With the goal of supporting the development of advanced therapies for personalized medicine and related industries, the four clusters have created a European partnership in this field. Through four joint trainings, two joint events and four (online) delegations, they were able to improve their cluster competences and services for members. Moreover, through lessons learned in joint activities and through sharing knowledge, cluster strategies and strategic processes were optimised. Together, these activities have led to each of the partners obtaining an ESCA label of Cluster Management Excellence, demonstrating the provision of top-quality and tailor-made support services for their members: Atlanpole Biotherapies received Bronze, KLSK and Biowin received Silver, and BioM received Gold.

Impact for SMEs and other Cluster Members
A series of activities have been organised for cluster members throughout the CE4BIG project:
7 companies benefitted from intensive training courses, some organised through the ClusterXchange programme | 29 cluster members & 6 cluster organisations participated in a Bioproduction networking week | 24 participants attended info sessions on European funding opportunities for SMEs in collaboration with European project CELIS | 41 participants participated in the Polish Life Science Open Space 2021 dedicated CE4BIG session on Health Technologies| 53 participants attended the CE4BIG session on “Green Transition in Life Sciences” during the BioM BioEntrepreneurship Summit week| Over 1300 participants coached individually or through joint info sessions about opportunities through the project | 25 companies pitched at events to find European partners | Over 30 B2B meetings were organised through the scheme (several additional meetings outside)
Through these CE4BIG activities, the aim was achieved, namely that European SMEs participated in training and info sessions, gained access to individual support and coaching, and had opportunities to find and exchange with European business partners.

What’s next?
The CE4BIG cluster partnership will continue to flourish and respond to European challenges in the field of personalized medicine through its LinkedIn page: Health Clusters for SMEs and its future joint strategy, focusing on the industry working in the field of 5P medicine, and ensuring our support to SMEs for access to public funding. The partnership hopes to expand to other European countries to become a competitive, world-class network of health clusters.

The CE4BIG project ended on 03/02/2022.

Cluster Excellence for Business Innovation and Growth in the Health Sector (CE4BIG)

The project CE4BIG – Cluster Excellence for Business Innovation and Growth in the Health Sector, was selected to receive funding under the EU COSME  “European Cluster Excellence” initiative, which aims to foster cluster collaboration on a European-wide scale. The ultimate objective is to strengthen both, clusters and SMEs, to jointly master global competition and work on the answers to the challenges of personalized medicine.

CE4BIG federates 4 European healthcare clusters, with similar regional smart specialization strategies supporting the development of advanced therapies for personalized medicine. The consortium consists of the project leader, Atlanpole Biotherapies from France, BioM from Germany, BioWin from Belgium, and Life Science Krakow from Poland.

The project intends to promote business growth and to raise the innovation capacity of SMEs. Professional cluster services will be optimized through targeted activities including the ClusterXchange scheme, which enables and fosters cross-border collaboration between innovation stakeholders (health SMEs, CROs, research units, etc.) in the innovation ecosystems of the project partners. The exchanges aim at helping SMEs within the partnership, design and fine-tune their business models, develop new partnerships, seize new business opportunities abroad, and secure funding for business and innovation to reach proof of technology and grow beyond. The exchanges also enhance the innovation process by providing professional and sector-specific support to bio-entrepreneurs and start-ups.

The project will also benefit cluster management and strategic skills through customized training and transnational cluster-to-cluster missions. This will enable the consortium to exchange expertise in topics of common interest for SMEs and to stimulate the dialogue between SME managers and business/innovation support stakeholders. The objectives also include taking the roadmaps of the involved clusters to the next excellence level, and creating a joint roadmap to future-proof the CE4BIG network. To achieve this, partners will engage in sectoral comparative analyses and pinpoint synergies, common challenges and areas of opportunities. As a result, the consortium will design a joint strategic plan to ensure the sustainability of the partnership.

CE4BIG is hoping to impact the European innovation landscape in several ways:

  • 4 clusters will be awarded the Cluster Management Excellence labels (bronze, silver and gold) by the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI)
  • 8 cluster managers will get highly profiled training to optimize their management skills
  • 4 transnational C2C missions will be organized to foster peer-learning and cluster collaboration
  • 52 organizations will participate in exchanges  organized via the ClusterXchange scheme
  • 4 individual cluster management organizations will take their strategic plans to the next level, delivering optimal and demand-driven services, and promoting cutting-edge developments in personalized medicine
  • 1 European partnership will be designed and implemented in form of a coordinated action, focused on innovations in personalized medicine.

The CE4BIG project started on February 2nd 2020 and will be funded for 24 months.

The coordination is led by Atlanpole Biotherapies (Pays de la Loire – Bretagne – Centre Val de Loire / France).


Reports of CE4BIG Exchanges

ClusterXchange programme to connect Europe’s industrial ecosystems

ESCP-4x leaflet (pdf download)

What the exchange programme is about

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Dr. Stephanie Wehnelt
Dr. Stephanie Wehnelt

Head of International Affairs

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