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Maritime Clusters in Västra Götaland

Sweden - Västra Götaland Region


This report presents the results of an investigation of maritime clusters in Västra Götaland, which was carried out on the initiative of Region Västra Götaland, Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg (GU) and presented in November 2012. The purpose of the investigation is to describe the current state of the maritime sectors, using the maritime strategy of Västra Götaland as a starting point (see section 2.3), as well as to provide an analysis of future growth areas, based on a cluster perspective.

Application in MSP:
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Questions this practice may help answer

What is the current status of the maritime sector in Västra Götaland?

How can  clusters be developed to strengthen the maritime sector?

Implementation Context

In 2011 the Region Västra Götaland decided to evaluate its maritime strategy from 2008.

Aspects / Objectives

  • To describe the current state of the maritime sectors, using the maritime strategy of Västra Götaland as a starting point
  • To provide an analysis of future growth areas, based on a cluster perspective.


For developing the updated strategy, the researchers and regional representatives have been working with five sub clusters or cluster areas, which together with marine management constitute the proposed cluster structure. The selection is based in on the groupings and priorities that have been made by the EU, and in part on an assessment of the areas of strength that became apparent in connection with interviews with different actors in the region and in the workshops that have been held.

Maritime Cluster Process

Main Outputs / Results

The report is the summery of the output of the research done. Considering the develop of clusters the report describes the main issues concerned and recommendations.

The different cluster areas will function differently depending on the area concerned, the actors that are participating, etc. Some clusters have a long tradition of cooperation, whereas others need more time to develop collaborative forms. Examples of cluster activities include bringing together businesses and research at meetings, workshops and conferences, carrying out strategic communication and developing and coordinating common projects on the basis of the needs of each partial cluster.

There are however certain basic principles which should characterize all cluster areas:

  • There must be one organisation that has the administrative responsibility for the cluster areas and that ensures that they are active and functioning. Existing organisations should be used, in order to avoid creating additional structures.
  • ·The clusters areas should have a leadership that is divided between a leading representative of research and a leading representative of the users of research, which could be a company or a public authority. This is in order to create balance and mutual understanding, so that researchers, businesses and public sector actors can participate on equal terms.
  • The cluster areas must develop common goals and working programmes for activities that are anchored both in academia and among the users of research.
  • There must be a structure with which to record and develop any proposals that emerge, that is, some form of “innovation group” that can further develop ideas and provide feedback. The representatives of existing regional innovation systems should thus be included in the cluster.
  • It is an advantage if the cluster monitors activities, have a strategic intelligence process and carry out benchmarking.
  • The cluster should be open for anyone who wishes to participate, but there should be a clear working programme. It should also be understood that being a part of the cluster entails an active engagement.

The different cluster areas are held together in a common structure, without the need to introduce unnecessary bureaucracy. The arrangement can be better described as a “partnership model” than as a “membership model”. One consequence of this is that the projects in this model can be carried out outside of the cluster organisation itself. The projects can engage different partners, which make the group of project participants open and transparent


The strategy refers to the Swedish region of Västra Götaland. The transferability is therefor low. However, the development of the document shows how to cooperate with stakeholders in reviewing a strategy and developing a cluster strategy. Furthermore, it provides an overview of the main issues are relevant for developing clusters for the maritime industry, which can also be relevant in other regions.

Costs / Funding Source

Region Västra Götaland has funded the review.

Responsible Entities

Region Västra Götaland

Contact persons

  • Anders Carlberg, Region Västra Götaland, (anders[dot]carlberg[at]vgregion[dot]se)
  • Axel  Wenblad, Region Västra Götaland, (axel[dot]wenblad[at]gmail[dot]com)
  • Susanne Lindegarth, University of Gothenburg, (susanne[dot]lindegarth[at]bioenv[dot]gu[dot]se)
  • Andreas Hanning, Chalmers University of Technology, (andreas[dot]hanning[at]chalmers[dot]se)