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European Commission awards Hamburg Aviation with GOLD Label

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Cluster excellence initiative of the EU (ECEI) honours Hamburg Aviation as one of Europe’s leading industry clusters

Hamburg, February 6th 2014 - Just a few days before the first athletes celebrate their gold medals in Sochi, Russia, the precious metal is being awarded to Hamburg's aviation community: The European Commission's ECEI (European Cluster Excellence Initiative) has honoured Hamburg Aviation, the aviation cluster in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region, with the GOLD Label for excellent cluster management. After winning the German national Leading-Edge Cluster Award in 2008, Hamburg Aviation can now officially consider itself one of the leading industrial clusters at a European level.

An independent team of experts decided on the award, assessing aspects including leadership structure, the extent and amount of information exchange between member organisations, and the sustainability of the cluster.

The European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI) Label awards were launched by the European Commission to facilitate the comparison of success factors and future perspectives of industry clusters across borders on the basis of objective criteria. As far as possible, regionally specific influences such as tax law, local infrastructure, and the level of political support are neutralised in evaluation for the award. Instead, the assessment concentrates on organisational factors such as the structural and personnel structure of the network, member activity, the frequency of personal networking and exchange, the scope of research projects, internationalisation efforts, financial security, and the long-term strategy of the cluster. Throughout Europe, only 36 clusters from various industries and nations have received the GOLD Label.

The assessment of individual clusters takes place on the basis of personal interviews conducted by a team consisting of members of the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA) and on evaluation by independent experts from abroad. The final assessment consists of a scoring process, made up of 31 individual quality indicators. Hamburg Aviation received the highest classification in 26 of these indicators.

"Being awarded with the GOLD Label for excellent cluster management shows that Hamburg Aviation's activities are not just bearing fruit in Hamburg; they are visible and being recognised throughout Europe," says Dr Franz Josef Kirschfink, Managing Director of Hamburg Aviation since January 2014. "The award is a huge motivation for us, and at the same time a confirmation that we are on the right path with our strategy. But we also know that the potential of our metropolitan region is far from exhausted, with global players like Airbus, SMEs, renowned universities, and public institutions combining to make a vast range of expertise available in a small space. Our principle task for the future will continue to be making this cooperation even more intensive, both internally and externally."