EFFORT - Governance, Policies and Legal Conditions for Access to Market through Extended and Dynamic Clustering of SMEs
Procuring Authority: European Commission
The objective of EFFORT is to research and document the policy, legal, organizational, technological and governance conditions that enable dynamic cross-border and cross-regional clusters of SMEs to improve their ability to access the global market by facilitating collaborative production of services and products.

The central organizing concept of the project and the hypothesis it sets out to test is that market access will be improved through a process of extended and dynamic clustering. Extended clustering involves aggregating capabilities of clustered SMEs at different levels, overcoming the local geographical boundaries and operational limitations of traditional clusters. Dynamic clustering involves adaptability and the development of capacity of “virtual” clusters to respond to specific market opportunities.

The fundamental challenge EFFORT addresses is how to facilitate extended dynamic clustering, and to build capacity across clusters and networks of SMEs. This challenge involves building “internal” capabilities by enhancing the organizational, knowledge and technological capacity of SMEs and “external” capacity in the environments in which SMEs and their clusters operate. The key research and development issues have to do with regulation/policy, legal framework, governance mechanisms and technological conditions that can function as the "enabling framework" for completing the Internal Market.

Key outcomes of EFFORT are a White Paper that specifies the implications for cluster policy, and a strategic Roadmap that identified the emerging research priorities in the domain of clusters and open innovation across the EU.