1. Cluster policy in North Rhine-Westphalia
The cluster policy of the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia supports the cooperation of firms, research facilities and the public purse right the way along the added value chains in a total of 16 branches and fields of technology. These 16 clusters possess particularly significant potential for growth and are of great importance for the economic development of the state.
Through the intensive collaboration of the players and a professional Cluster Management and with the help of competitions, special momentum for growth and innovation is to be set in motion and structural adjustments are to be made in accordance with the varying demands of international, knowledge-based markets.
The following ministries are responsible for implementation of NRW cluster policy:
- Ministry for Economic Affairs, Energy, Building, Housing and Transport (MWEBEV)
- Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research (MIWF)
- Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection (MKULNV)
- Ministry for Health, Equalities, Care and Ageing (MGEPA)
- State Chancellery
2. Ministry for Economic Affairs, Energy, Building, Housing and Transport
The state government's cluster policy is designed to encourage economic growth and the transformation of industry into a creative economy. A creative economy is the umbrella brand for all processes which help to secure market advantages through differentiation. The aim of the creative economy is to derive ideas for intelligent products and new, complex solutions from worldwide mega trends of the future, such as mobility, the introduction of new technologies, demographic development and climate change.
The clusters are intended to initiate creative processes like these and, for this purpose, to form close alliances of mutually complementary firms, scientific institutions and associated players such as credit institutes or educational facilities. It is practically impossible today for one firm alone to generate the knowledge required for the rapid implementation of results from research and development into marketable products. The clusters aim to raise the quality of the location and to bind firms to it, while also communicating the location's outstanding achievements to the outside world.
The Ministry for Economic Affairs, Energy, Building, Housing and Transport is responsible, in a coordinating role, for the following clusters:
3. Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research
The strengthening of advanced research is a central component of North Rhine-Westphalia's innovation policy. By 2015, North Rhine-Westphalia wants to become the federal state with the most employees and the greatest investment in research and development. To achieve this, within the framework of its cluster policy, North Rhine-Westphalia relies on selective Support for Research and Technology, concentrating on four main areas:
- Energy and Environmental Research
- Medical Research/Medical Technology
- Nano/Micro Technology/Innovative Materials
By 2010, state funding will be fed into advanced research projects, with the future areas of biotechnology, nano/microtechnology/innovative materials, energy and environmental research each receiving 100 million euros.
The Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research (MIWF) coordinates the following clusters:
4. Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection
Protection of the environment in NRW has always had a powerful economic dimension. In early decades, its success story was based on classic after-treatment. This meant that protection of the environment was carried out with the help of the classic cleaning technologies, also known as "end-of-pipe" technologies. In contrast, most firms today apply preventive environmental protection, which is strongly favoured and supported by the state government. The aim is to spare resources and the environment right from the start, in order to thus significantly reduce the consumption of raw materials and envoronmental damage. NRW, for example, is faced with the necessity of revising its polpicies on recycling and waste disposal, protection of the climate and integrated product development. At the same time, there are major economic opportunities available here, as NRW can also function worldwide as a leading state for environmental technology. The new environmental protection approach also offers many opportunities for economic revival and new jobs in the state itself – for example, in the highly competitive agricultural and nutrition industries, in the timber industry, in innovations from the environmental industry and renewable energies. The Ministry for the Environment provides selective SME support to help small and medium-sized enterprises in regard to environmental protection.
The Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protectio (MKULNV) coordinates the following clusters:
- Energy Industry
- Environmental Technologies
5. Ministry for Health, Equalities, Care and Ageing
North Rhine-Westphalia is the first federal state in Germany to comprehensively support firms, scientific institutions and other players in the healthcare system as an alliance while encompassing the entire added value chain. The cluster "Healthcare and Application Oriented Medical Technology" is to be specifically developed as an innovative and self-supporting network, today considered an important precondition for commercial success. As in the Ruhr District, the Health Ministry also prepares regional development concepts, together with the regions Münsterland, East Westphalia-Lippe, Cologne/Bonn and Aachen, in order to ensure consistent local support for healthcare.
The electronic Healthcare Map and the electronic Register of Physicians and Pharmacists are currently being tested in the largest trial region in Germany, Bochum-Essen. From 2015 on, every citizen in North Rhine-Westphalia is to be able to use electronic patient documentation on the basis of a security technology unique in Europe.
The NRW state government is planning a state-wide institution to bring healthcare knowledge and capability together in a "Network of Excellence" which, in close cooperation with major international institutes, can generate the strongest possible stimulus for the further development of healthcare in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The Ministry for Health, Equalities, Care and Ageing (MGEPA) coordinates the following cluster:
6. State Chancellery
North Rhine-Westphalia is an innovative and creative state. In hardly any other federal state is there a density of media sector enterprises comparable to that of NRW. Support for North Rhine-Westphalia as a media business location is a task for which the NRW Minister President is directly responsible. This includes the further development of media legislation, the award of radio frequencies and supervision of the digitalisation of radio, such as DVB-T for example. The aim of the Media.NRW cluster is to secure and extend this leading position through better networking and utilisation of the existing resources.
The State Chancellery is responsible in a supervisory role for the cluster Media.
Official overall responsibility within the State Chancellery lies with the Minister for Federal Affairs, Europe and Media for the State of NRW.