Benchmark of governance and financing models of European clusters and platforms

The objective of this report is to survey and benchmark governance and financing models of relevant European clusters, platform and initiatives. The activity is part of Work Package 3 Implementation Pathways, that addresses the high-level objective "to build and test a lasting organisation and pathways to reach the desired impact". This report was developed by the means of a mixed qualitative-quantitative research method to collect data and information via interviews and surveys, supplemented by desk research to fill information gaps. The results revealed that the analysed initiatives register a diversity of governance and financing models, but they all appear to have a generic three-layered governance structure, comprised of: an executive, operational and advisory level. Further, the majority of analysed initiatives have no independent legal status, while those that opted for a legal entity preferred not-for-profit organisations, European Economic Interest Grouping or governmental platforms. Additionally, the predominant financing model for the investigated initiatives is public funding. Private funding is rarely found as an option among the examined initiatives, few using private sources and chargeable services. At the same time, the benchmarking exercise revealed that if an initiative wants to be directly financed, it then requires a legal entity. This applies to any initiative that would like to participate in any call for funding on their own. Furthermore, some forms of legal entities can benefit from funding by a group of national public organisation supporting a specific initiative, since such organisations could improve collaboration and engagement. Being a directly-financed initiative by the private sector can undermine the independent nature of an initiative, and can place additional requirements on the supervision, control and management of the governance structure and operations. If the funding is private, then it is necessary for an initiative to have a board of directors (supervising the mandate and ensuring independence) and also an executive board (that oversees the activities and performs strategic planning and high-level decision-making). Post-project sustainability creates particular challenges to projects, especially in the area of innovation, since they are highly reliant on public support and very rarely can offer services of interest to the private sector.

Implementation pathways