Project brief

Network and cluster organisations play a key role in the coordination of cross-organisational research and development projects. This requires cluster managers to possess a broad spectrum of knowledge and skills, but there is a lack of sustainable structures for the systematic and efficient transfer of these skills. Special challenges arise from internationalisation activities to ensure global competitiveness. The aim of the project is to explore the extent to which the development of a systematic training and further education offer in the form of a Virtual Cluster Academy based on a Sharing Economy approach can close this gap.

The core idea of the approach consists of the fact that cluster managers can help to shape the academy themselves and develop, book and offer topic-specific seminar offers in various formats. In this way, the existing practical cluster management know-how from more than ten years of successful cluster policy is to be made centrally accessible and conveyed in a demand-oriented way, and is to be expanded specifically to include relevant competencies for international cooperation activities. With more than 1,500 regional cluster initiatives or comparable network agglomerations in Germany, there is a great potential of future providers and users, whose increase in know-how will then benefit the associated clusters as a whole.

Innovation approaches: What is new at the Virtual Cluster Academy?

  • Systematic training and further education offer for established and prospective cluster managers with the possibility of quality assurance on the basis of a systematically collected competence and requirement profile, especially taking into account the necessary know-how and competences with regard to international cooperation projects.
  • Self-assessment for cluster managers and prospective junior managers to determine their own training and development needs on the basis of an ideal profile, taking into account possible career paths. Sharing economy in the education sector: learners are also teachers. They themselves shape the
  • learning opportunities and organise, operate and control the academy. Digitisation: All processes of the Academy are to be digitally represented. Exceptions are the learning formats, which are digital as well as real or hybrid.
  • Dynamic learning opportunities are based on individual learning needs.

Within the project, ITA is mainly responsible for the conception, implementation and evaluation of a demand analysis among cluster managers regarding their current and future competence needs. In addition, ITA is responsible for the conception of a self-assessment tool for cluster managers to determine their further training needs and compiles competence profiles of cluster managers for the later conception of a structured training and further training offer in innovative formats.

The project partner inno-focus takes over the consortium leadership in and is responsible for the development of prototypical training and further education offers and the realisation of the Virtual Cluster Academy demonstrator on an online platform. The partner WeichertMehnerUnternehmensberatung is responsible for the development of a business model for the Virtual Cluster Academy as a network structure with digitalised process flows.

Summary: Initiates file downloadKompetenzprofile erfolgreicher Clustermanager (07/2017)

Further information available at:

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Project title

The Virtual Cluster Academy - Concept development for the education and training of science, innovation and cluster managers based on a sharing economy approach

Duration: 01.03.2017 – 31.03.2018

Project partners

  • inno-focus businessconsulting gmbh
  • WeichertMehner Unternehmensberatung für Kommunikation GmbH & Co. KG


Contact person

Mag. rer. nat. Judith Hoffmann
Senior Research Assistant