Global Issues of Territorial Clusters
Experts of the HSE ISSEK Russian Cluster Observatory (RCO) conducted a research on factors which influence the amount ofinnovative cluster support in Russia. Its unobvious results were presented by the head of HSE ISSEK Russian Cluster Observatory Evgeny Kutsenko during 19th TCI Global Conference Global Changes on November, 8-10 in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
The Conference was organized by TCI Network which is a global network of practitioners on clusters, innovation and competitiveness, together with the Brainport Development Corporation and the largest Wageningen University & Research in Holland. Its main theme were challenges and opportunities for clusters in terms of urban growth, digitalization of economics and globalisation.
The Conference was attended by more than 500 cluster practitioners, policy makers, academics and business people from nearly 40 countries and institutions. Keynote speeches were made by President of TCI, Dr. Christian Ketels, Special Envoy StartupDelta, Prince Constantine of Orange-Nassau and Executive Director at Foundation for MSME Clusters, Mukesh Gulati.
Our country was represented by the head of HSE ISSEK Russian Cluster Observatory Evgeny Kutsenko and a delegation from The Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation led by a.i. Director of Department of strategic development and innovation Artem Shadrin.
|Russian delegation at the 19th TCI Global Conference Global Changes|
Artem Shadrin made a report at the plenary meeting on the new project of the Ministry to identify and support innovative clusters — world-class leaders of investment attractiveness. The project aims to support export and worldwide cooperation, professional evolution of cluster teams, the sync of cluster support measures and cross-clustering encouragement.
During one of the discussion sessions the vice-president of the Kamsky innovative territorial and production cluster Leysan Abzalilova made a speech.
Reputation increases tangible assets
In his report Regional conditions, economic performance and quality of management as factors of innovative cluster support in Russia (PDF, 422 Кб) Evgeny Kutsenko spoke about the results of a new research on factors influencing the amounts of cluster subsidy allocation.
State program to stimulate pilot projects of innovative clusters started four years ago. Thanks to the program, various clusters cover nearly the entire map of the Russian Federation, located not only in the central regions of the country, but also in Siberia and the Far East. ISSEK researchers have wondered about what influences the amount of subsidies, in addition to the specific cluster development projects (which are weakly amenable to comparative analysis due to sectorial and structural heterogeneity of the clusters).
The question is not idle because the cluster is a complex phenomenon, its development depends on industry dynamics and the quality of business environment and infrastructure in the region, and the number and size of companies-participants, and, not least, the quality of its management bodies (the so-called specialized organizations). The identification of the influencing factors will help to understand the areas to focus on for both regional and federal authorities.
The results of the study showed that there was no positive correlation between cluster size (number of cluster members and employment therein) as well as economic performance indicators (cluster revenues, R&D expenditures, investments) and the subsidy volumes. The only influencing indicator was the volume of innovative products (works, services) in-house output by cluster members.
Cluster management / governance indicators showed ambiguous influence on the scope of public support. On the one hand, there was correlation between the subsidy volumes and evaluation / monitoring procedures of the cluster management organization performance as well as satisfaction surveys of the cluster management organization performance. Plus there was positive correlation between the subsidy volumes and the number of cluster management organization employees. On the other hand, there was negative correlation with the share of private funding in a cluster management organization budget (the case of Saint Petersburg IT cluster: the higher private funding was, the less subsidy volume was).
There were trust indicators that affected the subsidy volumes: integration with technoparks previously supported by the state, and cluster members` participation in technological platforms. They confirmed cluster teams` reputation in terms of fulfilling the requirements of public support programmes.
Why the reputation is so important for Russian clusters? This can be explained by several factors.
First of all, unlike companies of which State regularly collects all sorts of information, there is less reliable information and consistent data on clusters, which is harder to collect. I.e. importance is given not only to what is written in cluster documents, but to who wrote it. Secondly, Russia is a big country and this fact complicates regular qualitative monitoring of the supported clusters. It is important to have a trusted team at the local level since it is hard to control everything from the centre (information asymmetry). Last but not least is that the role of reputation and a set of features of the cluster support program become more important due to the advanced payment of the latter (first the Federal Ministry allocated the subsidy and monitors the results afterwards; while in other programs it happens vice versa — the subsidy is allocated to compensate the costs incurred) and due to the absence of requirements for co-financing projects by private businesses (having such rules would encourage cluster members to initiate the joint projects).
Negotiations and agreements
During the Conference, Russian delegation held a series of talks with European colleagues on enhancing international activity of Russian clusters, possible assistance of their integration into TCI global network and their participation in European i cluster collaboration platform to interact with overseas clusters. The parties agreed to exchange information with governmental officials and cluster organisations in Austria, Germany, Denmark, India, Canada, the Netherlands, France, South Korea, as well as the possibility of holding one of the following cluster conferences in Russia.
In addition to discussion and business programs, during all three days of the Conference the participants got acquainted with the most successful Dutch clusters that specialize in high-tech, agriculture and food production, intelligent transport, biotechnology, personalized medicine and sports.
Text by Evgeny Kutsenko, translated by Karina Zagitova with the participation of Ekaterina Islankina