The EACP networking hub is a project that was implemented within the framework programme of the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. From October 2011 until December 2013, the project provided European aerospace clusters with a permanent platform for information exchange, policy studies and mutual cooperation. By establishing a coordination office in Hamburg that collected and disseminated information and knowledge among the partners and that coordinated all activities within the network, the ESF Hamburg laid the foundation for a long-term strategy for the international partnership EACP.
Close and continuous cooperation enabled project participants to compare their practices by exchanging and analysing case studies. Throughout this process they established a knowledge base of best practices that was used to improve each cluster’s quality, efficiency, innovation and business performance. Simultaneously, the implementation of best practice concepts ensured the sustainability of the clusters and the overall industry.
The EACP networking hub developed a strategy to strengthen the position of European aerospace clusters in the global aerospace market. In the course of the project a new mission and vision statement were defined.
The EACP‘s vision is to create a larger yet closer aerospace community with the overall goal of becoming the reference aerospace cluster network platform in the world. By operating at the cluster management level, EACP ensures for the representation of the overall value chain with its regional needs, challenges and regional characteristics of the aerospace sector in Europe. Clusters unite all regional players of a sector including research and education institutions, public authorities and various kinds of aerospace-related companies (both small and large). In order to position Europe as the global hub of innovation and competitiveness in aerospace, EACP supports clusters that strive for excellence. The knowledge and the network of clusters enable them to promote the sector with lasting impact for the region.
The EACP‘s mission follows the concept of plurality which is based on the values of trust, engagement, dependability and common added value generation. EACP stands for close interaction and unifying cooperation values. The diversity of the many strengthens the network due to a high level of respect, mutual interest and intrinsic motivation. Acting as a trustable and unifying framework, the EACP shapes the future pathways for international intercluster relationships.
EACP focuses on various cluster management issues that are intended to ultimately help improve the business/working environment for the cluster members. At the regional level, the EACP supports this by furthering excellence in cluster management through the exchange of knowledge and best practices. At the European level, the EACP enables the joint articulation of member regions’ needs and interests to relevant stakeholders and initiates international cooperation for innovation and growth.
Furthermore, the EACP networking hub was able to visualise the complex structure of the European Aerospace Cluster Partnership. The strategy paper provides insights into the current market situation, challenges, and opportunities. It also establishes common goals followed by a joint action plan. The paper is conceived as a guideline providing common ground and understanding among the partners to intensify cooperation. Cooperation is realised through joint projects – at both the cluster level and regional member level. The EACP has established a bond between the cluster managers that provides them with a quick and easy means of communication. Furthermore, it enables cluster managers to support their respective companies, researchers and public institutions to intensify cooperation that is required for successful innovation and commercialisation, thus creating a win-win situation for all European partners.