2016 Cluster Partnership of the Year has been awarded to Energy in Water (EnW), a multinational project led by Anglia Ruskin University to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) develop internationally.
Energy in Water is a European Strategic Cluster Partnership (ESCP), comprising seven research-driven clusters spread across the UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain and France, which aims to nurture and harness the growth and innovation potential of European SMEs.
Dr Michael Green of Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute is the Principal Investigator of Energy in Water, which has over 180 active members, mostly SMEs, across Europe.
The 2016 Cluster Partnership of the Year award was presented by the European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP) at the European Cluster Conference 2016 in Brussels.
The EU Cluster Partnership award provides an opportunity for ESCP projects to showcase their excellence in promoting their partnership activities through various channels, including the ECCP. All European clusters partnerships which received the ESCP label were invited to participate.
A total of 25 EU funded cluster projects were eligible for the award, all covering different sectors but with the shared purpose of connecting SMEs with complementary bodies, including universities, R&D centres and local authorities, and developing working relationships outside of the EU.
Energy in Water, which is focusing on areas such as water efficiency, smart monitoring and energy recovery from waste water, has already established links with the USA, South America and Morocco.
We’re less than a year into the project but we’re already making great strides, so it’s wonderful to receive this European-wide recognition
Dr Green said: “We’re less than a year into the project but we’re already making great strides, so it’s wonderful to receive this European-wide recognition.
“The aim of Energy in Water is to drive the international competitiveness of European SMEs, through developing solutions to global challenges and emerging market opportunities.
“This partnership will strengthen the capacities and capabilities of SMEs and encourage networking to create new business opportunities inside and outside of Europe.
“As a result, the participating regions and SMEs will gain greater visibility in European and global markets and ensure the sustainable and competitive development of the sector.”
Marc Lemaître, Director-General of the European Commission’s Department for Regional and Urban Policy, said: “Projects such as Energy in Water support SMEs to gain access to the global value chain, and this value chain starts at home.
“Innovative SMEs are in need of demonstration sites and launching customers, and these cannot always be found within the same region. Energy in Water partners try to connect this supply and demand.”
In the Eastern region, Energy in Water already has links with Opportunity Peterborough, Cambridge Cleantech, Allia and the Water Innovation Network, based in Peterborough.