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EACP Annual Gathering in Bilbao

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19 members of the European Aerospace Cluster Partnership (EACP) gather in Bilbao on 30 September for annual networking and outlook function.

Hamburg, 30 September, 2013: At four-and-a-half years of age, with 17 new members bringing total membership to 41, the European Aerospace Cluster Partnership (EACP) has already launched numerous projects. On 30 September, 19 partners from nine countries will gather for the annual meeting in Bilbao, Spain, where the international Aerotrends conference is taking place. As at each meeting, three selected aviation clusters will present their structures, core competencies, successful projects and goals. After this, the leaders of the three working groups, "Skills & Innovation"˛ "Internationalisation" and "Strategy" will present what they have achieved so far and what they have planned. The general aim of EACP is to enhance cooperation and to promote participation in joint EU projects. One current success story is the European Skills Hub for Aerospace project (EACP Skills Hub), which was recently accepted into the EU's Leonardo da Vinci funding programme. The launch event will be held in Bilbao on 1 and 2 October, directly following the EACP annual meeting.

"The growing interest in EACP is impressive. Just recently, we have received two new French partners into the network, Aeriades Lorraine Aerospace Cluster and AEROSPACEcluster in Rhône-Alpes", reports Nadine Sablotny, Manager of the EACP Networking Hub in Hamburg. Hamburg initiated the EACP in May 2009. "But what excites me even more," she continues, "is the commitment of many partners, their interest in getting to know one another, and their willingness to learn from one another and to cooperate. We will therefore be focussing even more strongly on intensified strategic networking over the years ahead. This is the only way that the various systems and structures in the different clusters and countries of Europe can be understood, a prerequisite for launching sustainable and viable projects."

In Bilbao, once again, three clusters will introduce themselves, deepening the mutual understanding within the network. This time around it will be Niedersachsen Aviation (Germany), Torino Piemonte Aerospace (Italy) and Hèlice (Spain) presenting their cluster structures and systems along with what they can offer and what they need. These presentations help to identify suitable partners for potential international joint projects.

This will be followed by reports from three EACP working groups. Thilo Schönfeld, leader of the Internationalisation Working Group, will talk about potential cooperation with Russian and Asian clusters and present new projects, for example BEWARE - Bridging East West Aerospace REsearch. This new project, being carried out within the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for Research, was launched by EACP members. Western Europe's aviation clusters are supporting the development of eastern European clusters and promoting their participation in EU research projects. There are also plans for delegations from member companies in the clusters to travel to events such as the InnoForum Montreal in December 2013.

Sergio da Cunha Oliveira from the PEMAS cluster in Portugal will present the mission and vision of the Strategy Working Group. The new strategy will then be determined and a so-called roadmap will be planned, with definite activities for the next two to five years.

Finally, the leader of the Skills & Innovation Working Group, Ingrid Schilling-Kaletsch from Hamburg Aviation, will explain her vision of a European education system and present the new project, the European Skills Hub for Aerospace (EACP Skills Hub). The aim of this project, which has just been accepted into the EU's Leonardo da Vinci Partnership is to network regional players from the vocational education field across Europe, enabling them to discover the different vocational training systems with Europe, to recognise differences and to discuss the prerequisites for a cross-border European training and qualification system. The launch event, with the theme "Qualification in cluster management and the vocational education and training system in Europe", will be held in Bilbao on 1 and 2 October, directly after the EACP annual gathering. The nine EACP Skills Hub project partners will be joined for the event by six other EACP partners.

www.eacp-aero.eu