11.2.3 Characterisation of European clusters

Most of the clusters are rather young; they were created after 1970 and are still growing. Many of them have increased the number of employees as well as the number of firms involved over the last ten years. The majority of firms involved are SME’s and over the last ten years this has been increasingly the case.

Numerous activities generally take place inside the geographic borders of the clusters. Most often applied R&D and supporting services are performed inside the clusters. The following table shows the number of clusters per country in the EU. There were difficulties in getting complete and accurate figures mainly due to the fact that many countries have not completed a cluster mapping exercise.

 Table 1. Number of clusters per country in Europe (2002)1

Information adapted from http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/innovation/pdf/library/regional_clusters.pdf  
1 Table adapted from