Working visit of the Zheleznogorsk Cluster delegation to the Pole of Competitiveness ViaMeca

On 16-19 April, 2013 the Center for Strategic Research “North-West” conducted a working visit of the delegation from the Innovation Technologies Cluster, Zheleznogorsk to the Pole of Competitiveness ViaMeca, France.

The purpose of the trip was to study the experience of organization and management of radiation and space technologies clusters and to establish direct contacts with world’s leading centers in this sphere, to raise the level of public acceptance of the cluster, to strengthen relations with representatives of government and local authorities.

The working trip started at the ViaMeca pole of competitiveness. Philippe Bertrand, responsible for scientific and technological projects and international cooperation of the ViaMeca pole, outlined the key areas in creation of poles of competitiveness. He told the delegation members that in making decision regarding funding the government was guided primarily by the criterion of market demand (the possibility of selling the technology after its development). The visitors also received information on financing of projects in France: the government allocated 40 % to the research project , 60 % of financing came from other sources

On the second day of the trip the delegation visited Mayer Group France in Saint-Etienne. Established in 2001 Mayer Group France is a medium-sized company. It is part of the ViaMeca pole and focuses on several areas in engineering: electricity, mechanics, hydraulics. Representatives of the company told the visitors that they had their own design office and could either make complete upgrade of equipment, which saves up to 40% of the cost of a new machine unit, or design a unique custom-made equipment.

On the same day the delegation visited Partners in Nuclear Business (PNB, Burgundy) a pole of competitiveness in the nuclear industry. Representatives of the company told the Zheleznogorsk cluster delegation members that PNB pole of competitiveness is one of the leading poles in France and a key center for development of the nuclear industry. The anchor company of the pole is Areva.

At present, the pole in Burgundy is a partnership of regional nuclear industry enterprises and other France’s nuclear industry enterprises. There is only one pole of competitiveness in the nuclear energy sector in France — the one located in Burgundy, all others are less distinct and accumulate less technological competencies and capabilities.

On the third day of their visit the Zheleznogorsk delegation attended France’s largest annual Engineering Fair in Lyon. The level and status of the event was confirmed by the presence of France’s Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg. Searching for potential partners for future cooperation the delegation members familiarized themselves with engineering enterprises products, and also had several meetings with representatives of the ViaMeca pole of competitiveness.

The pole partners represented by Trade Union Federation of Mechanical Engineers noted that the pole was a significant and efficient element in conducting research and elaboration of R & D projects, as well as an important tool for integration of orders and inclusion of the wide range of small and medium-sized businesses in the process of the execution of orders.