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ERCI – European Railway Clusters Initiative

Project PERES already on track!

With a kick-off meeting the new partners of PERES celebrated the start of the EU co-funded project on 23rd February 2018 in Brussels. The partners were lucky to be hosted by the project lead Veronica Bocci from the Tuscan railway cluster DITECFER whose official EU Liaison Office of the Tuscany Region is located at the Schumann Roundabout next to the headquarters of the European Commission.

The intention of the meeting was not only to discuss the implementation plan and tasks for the upcoming 18 months, but also to get to know the partners. The consortium consists of old acquaintances and new faces. Four of the five PERES partners are members of ERCI – the European Railway Clusters Initiative: DITECFER (Tuscany, Italy), i-Trans (Hauts-de-France), Rail alliance (Midlands, UK) and BTS Rail Saxony (Saxony, Germany). In some cases, the participants know each other for already ten years! This is a major advantage for the project, since there is already a deep trust among the partners which accelerates the phase of getting to know each other and allows the immediate start of the work. The ‘newcomer’ is RCSEE – the Rail Cluster for South-East Europe representing Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia, among others.

Already on the 21st February, PERES was officially labelled a ‘European Strategic Cluster Partnership-Going International’ (ESCP-4i) by the European Commission in Brussels. The European Strategic Cluster Partnerships promoted by EASME – the Executive Agency for SME’s of the European Commission aim to foster strategic interest towards third countries beyond Europe and to support the development of emerging industries. From the beginning of 2018 until June 2019, PERES develops a joint ‘European’ strategic vision with a global perspective and common goals towards specific third markets. That is how the name of PERES – Promoting European Rail Excellence outSide EU – emerged.

The day before the kick-off meeting the >>EU Cluster Matchmaking Event and the EU Industry Day took place in Brussels. The matchmaking with 130 clusters from 22 countries representing 10.000 SMEs was useful both to extend the individual networks of the clusters and to cross the railway competences as PERES with other sectors for trying to identify new value chains for our SMEs. Furthermore, the PERES partners got to know the >>EU Gateway and the >>IPR SME helpdesk for China, Latin America and South-East Asia that offer individual, targeted (!) services for SMEs for little money.

All in all, the aim of the trip to Brussels was achieved: Broadening the PERES network and gaining more knowledge about supportive EU programmes; gaining a common sense of the way of working; and foremost: Deepening the PERES partnership!

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