Clusters Go International

EU funding opportunities

EASME, the Executive Agency for SMEs, responsible for the implementation of the COSME programme, has launched the Cluster Go International 2020 call to intensify cluster and business network collaboration across borders as well as across sectorial boundaries and to support the establishment of European Strategic Cluster Partnerships to lead international cluster cooperation in fields of strategic interest towards third countries beyond Europe.

The action will be implemented by consortia of organisations that are interested in establishing and running a ‘European Strategic Cluster Partnership – Going International’ (ESCP-4i). The Partnerships are expected to develop a joint ‘European’ strategic vision with a global perspective and common goals towards specific third markets.

“European Strategic Cluster Partnerships – Going International (ESCP-4i)” should be:

  • European, meaning ESCP-4is must be composed of a minimum of three partners all established in EU Member States or countries participating in the COSME programme;


  • Strategic, meaning the ESCP-4i’s members aim to develop and implement a joint internationalisation strategy with common goals and fostering complementarities between them, promoting cooperation across related industries and sectoral boundaries;


  • Representing Cluster(s) through cluster organisations or equivalent business network organisations that have an own independent legal entity;


  • Forming a Partnership, with the aim to set-up a Partnership Agreement engaging ESCP4i members to develop common actions and setting out the modalities of cooperation between them. The ESCP-4i members commit to develop a roadmap for implementation with a long-term cooperation agenda to foster their sustainability of the Partnership beyond the lifetime of the project funded under COSME;


  • Working towards Going International by developing and implementing a joint ‘European’ strategy for going international beyond Europe.

This current call for proposals is targeting actions in two Strands:

Strand A will support the establishment of European Strategic Cluster Partnership Going International (ESCP-4i) open to a wide range of European industrial sectors and value chains, except those targeted in Strand B;

Strand B will support the first implementation, testing and further development of up to two ‘European Strategic Cluster Partnerships for Going International’ (ESCP-4is) in the Defence and Security sector.

The projects under Strand A should comprise preparatory and implementation-related actions.

Preparatory actions contribute to establish a “European Strategic Cluster Partnership – Going International” with the aim to develop a joint internationalisation strategy for the Partnership with common goals towards specific third markets and a roadmap for implementation facilitating the internationalisation of its SME members.

Implementation-related actions concern the initial implementation and testing of the joint internationalisation strategy proposed by applicant consortia. They shall foster the further development of the “European Strategic Cluster Partnerships – Going International” by building cooperation activities with international partners in minimum 2 third countries (i.e. non-COSME participating countries) or world regions and initiating business partnerships for European SMEs in each target market.

Eligible consortia

In order to be eligible, a proposal must be submitted by a consortium.

For Strand A, the consortium must be:

  • composed of at least three different legal entities, which are established in a minimum of three different countries participating in the COSME programme;
  • among which at least two must be from two different EU Member States.

For Strand B, the consortium must be:

  • composed of at least three different legal entities, which are established in three different EU Member States.

Applicant consortia can apply for one Strand only. Eligible applicants can be part of maximum one applicant consortium for each Strand.


The total budget earmarked for the co-financing of projects is estimated at EUR 7.500.000 divided as follows:

Strand A: EUR 6.600.000

Strand B: EUR 900.000


The grant is limited to a maximum reimbursement rate of 90% of eligible costs.


Deadline for submitting applications is 2 December 2020.

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