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  1. An institution, body, office or agency established by or based on the Treaty on European Union and the Treaties establishing the European Communities.

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    A microenterprise, a small or medium-sized enterprise (business) as defined in EU Recommendation 2003/361. To qualify as an SME for EU funding, an enterprise must meet certain conditions, including (a) fewer than 250 employees and (b) an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50 million and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43 million. These ceilings apply only to the figures for individual companies.

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  1. Governance, partnership: Projects aimed at increasing the application of multilevel and transnational or cross-border governance, designing and testing appropriate governance structures and mechanisms. Also cooperation between public institutions on any theme.

    Innovation capacity and awareness-raising: Actions that increase a person’s or organisation’s capacity for innovation (not innovation as such), and that establish the capacity to diffuse and apply innovation; projects that stimulate innovation in different areas and innovation capacities; strengthening and empowering of innovation networks.

    Institutional cooperation and cooperation networks: Projects working on the improvement of institutional cross-border co-operation and capacities, on renewing and simplifying administrative management through long term cooperation between institutions (e.g. Euregion), on establishing and sharing regional knowledge and intercultural understanding and cohesion. It also deals with cooperations between universities, health care facilities, schools and sports organisations, as well as with management and capacity building.

    Activities focussing on agricultural products, organic farming, horticulture, as well as forest management and wood products; furthermore the development of the food sector, food chains, organic food production, and seafood products and any topics related to animals and fishing.

    Agriculture and fisheries and forestry: Projects focussing on agricultural products (i.e. fruits, meat, olives, etc.), organic farming, horticulture, as well as forest management and wood products. Also the development of the agro-food sector, food chains, organic food production, and seafood products. Any topics related to animals (i.e. health, management) and fishing (i.e. sustainable fishery, aquaculture).

    Soil and air quality: Projects that deal with any topic against soil and air pollution, except water pollution, for example, reduction of soil and air contamination, pollution-management systems, but also prevention and eradication of soil erosion, new ways of improving air quality (also indoors) and soil/air knowledge in general.

    Climate change and biodiversity projects assisting mitigation and adaption to climate change and environmental impacts of climate change. Development of low carbon technologies and strategies, reduction of CO2 emissions from all sectors. Promotion of biodiversity, new instruments to enhance biodiversity and natural protection.

    Soil and air quality projects that deal with any topic against soil and air pollution, except water pollution, for example, reduction of soil and air contamination, pollution-management systems, but also prevention and eradication of soil erosion, new ways of improving air quality (also indoors) and soil/air knowledge in general.

    Water management projects about management and distribution of drinking water, integrated sustainable water management, monitoring systems for water supply and improving drinking water quality; also water treatment (wastewater), in particular, innovative technologies to improve wastewater, treatments in the purification of industrial and domestic wastewater and water reuse policies. Waterways, lakes and rivers: This deals with any topics on waterways, lakes and rivers, from improving water quality, protecting and developing of ecosystems or sustainable wetland management.

    Activities that protect, promote and enhance cultural and natural heritage, increase the attractiveness through preservation and valorisation of common cultural and natural heritage in a sustainable manner, and improve and develop cultural and natural heritage objects, services and products. Cultural heritage management, art and culture, (maritime) heritage routes, access to cultural and natural heritage. Also all topics on cultural services such as festivals, concerts, art workshops.

    Cultural heritage and arts projects that protect, promote and enhance cultural and natural heritage, increase the attractiveness through preservation and valorisation of common cultural and natural heritage in a sustainable manner, and improve and develop cultural and natural heritage objects, services and products. Cultural heritage management, art and culture, (maritime) heritage routes, access to cultural and natural heritage. Also all topics on cultural services such as festivals, concerts, art workshops.

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    Sustainable management of natural resources projects focussing on the protection, promotion and valorization, and sustainable management and conservation of natural areas (habitats, geo parks, protected areas, etc.). Also projects focussing on preserving and enhancing cultural and natural heritage and landscape, as well as protecting the marine environment.

    Projects on waste management (innovative services and strategies), ecological waste treatment, treatment techniques/systems; waste disposal and recycling (improvement of recycling, innovative recycling technologies, recovery of organic waste, repair & re-use centres and networks); also prevention of pollution and pollution control (ecological and circular economy, marine littering, etc.).

    Labour market and employment: creating employment opportunities and/or optimising jobs, academic (un)employment and job mobility, workforce attraction and improvement of employment conditions for different groups.

    SME and entrepreneurship: strengthening SME capacities, boosting entrepreneurial activities in different sectors and for different groups, supporting social entrepreneurship, creating business support/advisory systems for start-ups/spin-offs/incubators, improving the competitiveness of SMEs, and promoting new business processes.

    Community integration and common identity projects that build identity, create a more cohesive society, promote positive relations through an increased provision of shared spaces and services.

    Demographic change and immigration is about projects tackling major societal challenges like demographic change in different areas and migration, in particular, aging society (active aging, best agers, silver economy strategies) and related new public services (adaptation of key services and infrastructure), social and spatial segregation, and brain drain. Also all topics on migration (policy tools, strategic planning, integration).

    All projects where ICT has a significant role, including tailor-made ICT solutions in different fields, as well as digital innovation hubs, open data, Internet of Things; ICT access and connecting (remote) areas with digital infrastructure and services; services and applications for citizens (e-health, e-government, e-learning, e-inclusion, etc.); services and applications for companies (e-commerce, networking, digital transformation, etc.).

    This is about the mitigation and management of risks and disasters, and the anticipation and response capacity towards the actors regarding specific risks and management of natural disasters, for example, prevention of flood and drought hazards, forest fire, strong weather conditions, etc.. It is also about risk assessment and safety.

    Education and training projects on expanding educational opportunities, reducing barriers in the field of education, improving higher education and lifelong learning, training and labour mobility, educational networks, higher vocational education, common learning programmes.

    Topics on energy management, energy-saving methods, evaluating energy efficiency measurements, energy rehabilitation/efficiency in buildings / public infrastructure, promotion of energy efficiency, cooperation among experienced energy efficiency firms, institutions and local administrations, co-generation.

    Projects focussing on wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric, geothermal and other renewable energy, increasing the production of sustainable renewable energy and improving research capacities in biomass. Also projects focussing on storage and management of renewable energy, new technologies, sustainable regional bioenergy policies and financial Instruments for investments on renewable energy.

    Social projects concerning people with disabilities and excluded groups; enhancement of the capacity of children, young people, women and elderly; creation of infrastructure to improve access for disabled people, integration of socially vulnerable people; innovate in the care of victims of gender violence, social inclusion of women, etc.

    This deals with the development of health and social services and improved accessibility and efficiency for different groups (elderly, children, etc.). It is also about new healthcare models and medical diagnosis and treatments (dementia, cancer, diabetes, etc.), hospitals, care management, and rare diseases, as well as improving wellbeing and promoting sports.

    Projects about (organised) crime, efficient and secure borders, such as enhancing the effectiveness of the police in the prevention of drug crimes, the development of safety services, or tackling security and organised crime issues.

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    • Multimodal transport and logistics and freight transport focusing on using different means of transport, developing multimodal connections, optimising intermodal transport chains; offering multimodal logistics solutions and providing access to clean, efficient and multimodal transport corridors and hubs; establishing cooperation among logistic centres and developing multimodal mobility strategies.

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    • urban development, such as planning and design of cities and urban areas, urban renewal, urban-rural links (climate, sustainable mobility, water efficiency, participation, sustainable land use, smart cities, public urban areas, regeneration)
    • regional planning and development, such as the implementation of regional development policies/instruments and programmes, sustainable land use management plans, integrated regional action plans, spatial planning, and marine protected area management.
    • rural and peripheral development, referring to remote, sparsely populated areas, rural community development, and rural economics, in particular access to remote areas and policies for rural areas.
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Call key data

EU-Ukraine Cluster Partnership Programme

Funding Program

Single Market Programme

Call number




04.06.2024 17:00

Funding rate


Call budget

€ 3,000,000.00

Estimated EU contribution per project

€ 500,000.00

Link to the call

Link to the submission

Call content

short description

The action will support Ukrainian business integration in EU value chains and the development of cooperation projects and partnerships between European and Ukrainian clusters and business network organisations. It is based on the understanding that promoting clustering and strengthening and creating new cluster organisations in Ukraine are highly effective ways to facilitate economic competitiveness and industrial transition to the benefit of the entire value chain. Furthermore, it is expected that supporting cooperation between clusters will successfully lead to increased trade, investment and partnering projects between participants. In line with the EU industrial strategy and the Expert Group recommendations for EU clusters, partnerships should promote the transition of Ukrainian companies to greater sustainability.

Call objectives

Specific industrial ecosystems have been significantly affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They are of particular importance for the reconstruction of Ukraine and have substantial potential for collaboration between European and Ukrainian cluster organizations and enterprises. Hence, proposals should be focused on only one of the industrial ecosystems listed below:

  • Aerospace & Defence
  • Agri-Food
  • Construction
  • Digital
  • Electronics
  • Health
  • Mobility-Transport-Automotive
  • Renewable Energy

The term “Cluster Partnerships” (referred to as Partnerships) used in this call for proposals refers to the consortia of cluster organisations or business network organisations that manage joint activities, facilitate networking, and provide or channel specialised and customised business support services to their members and related actors. 

In practice, the activities will be implemented by consortia of organisations that are interested in establishing and running a Cluster Partnership (referred to as Partnerships). 

The Partnerships will be formed through this call for proposals that will bring together cluster organisations and other business network organisations from the EU Member States or other countries participating in the SME pillar of the Single Market Programme (SMP) and from Ukraine, interested in teaming up.

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Expected effects and impacts

High quality management of cluster organisations helps in providing professional services to their members, notably SMEs. They assist their companies to add value, to become innovative or access global markets successfully, and to enhance strategic collaboration, networking and learning. Professional cluster management contributes to raise the innovation capacity and competitiveness of cluster firms in a wider sense. 

European clusters and companies are expected to benefit from these partnerships with the Ukrainian clusters by establishing new business relations with Ukrainian partners and through the re-building of supply and value chains that were disrupted by the war. 

This implies that capacity-building efforts will improve the cluster management skills of cluster managers, the support services that cluster organisation offer and develop strategies that drive cluster initiatives towards self-sustainability and wider economic impact. 

On the Ukrainian side, the expected impact is more integration of Ukrainian businesses into the EU single market and EU value chains through connecting and developing collaboration between members of clusters and/or between cluster organisations or business support organisations.

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Expected results

The proposal shall address both specific objectives: 

1. Developing value chains interlinkages between EU and Ukrainian companies (networking)

The objective is to connect EU and Ukrainian companies to strengthen ‘the value chains’ ability to cope with challenges and undergo green, digital and resilient transitions. This will be enabled by the integration of different actors, competences, and solutions. The Partnerships will contribute to building resilience by mobilising different actors who have complementary and related assets and talents from the EU and Ukraine.

These Partnerships should create a strong result-oriented network to ensure for example: the diversification of production inputs in different EU Member States and Ukraine; an increase in the customer base of EU and Ukrainian companies within and across the ecosystems; the pooling of supply or demand; the mobilisation of joint investments and production facilities; the development of technologies in particular to increase resilience and strategic autonomy of EU and Ukrainian economies; upskilling of the workforce and collaboration to reach international markets, where applicable. 

2. Fostering the cluster capacity-building and the professionalisation of support for both EU and Ukrainian SMEs. 

The objective is to foster the capacity-building of EU and Ukrainian cluster organisations and to promote cross-cluster learning to help cluster managers, cluster organisations and their members acquire the necessary skills and take actions to explore and take up new solutions. This should include trainings along the value chain which will enhance cluster managers' skills, develop, and implement a comprehensive portfolio of new services for companies, organise twinning and learning activities and provide adequate support for the possible implementation to foster cross-cluster learning. 

The EU partners of the Partnership are expected to share their experience in analysing, designing and delivering a common strategy and/or implementation roadmap on skills for the clusters. The Ukrainian partners are expected to develop their portfolio of services and implement collaborative actions to build up their training infrastructures, knowledge, and capacities to facilitate the upskilling and reskilling of the workforce, to enhance the skills related services that they could provide to their members, to engage in national, regional skills ecosystems and to cooperate with vocational training organisations. 

It will foster cluster capacity-building, the professionalisation of support for businesses, especially for SMEs, and strengthen economic ties between European and Ukrainian ecosystems, regions and cities.

To achieve the general and specific objectives set out above the Partnerships may undertake for example activities such as: 

  • Organising twinning, networking and learning activities and projects that aim at cooperation and capacity building. The activities can cover, amongst others, efforts to boost internationalisation, market research, foresight and trends analyses, mapping of joint activities, technology/knowledge transfer, and promote companies’ uptake of innovation, digitalisation, and resource-efficient and carbon neutral solutions. This can thus include, for instance workshops, study trips and training and education activities for cluster organisations, business network support organisations, SMEs and public authorities and innovation agencies working with clusters.
  • Supporting the development of a comprehensive cluster strategy for the individual clusters, including activities to strengthen collaboration and partnership development along and across value-chains between the EU and Ukraine.
  • Enhancing clusters’ capacities to provide high quality added-value support services for businesses, especially SMEs.
  • Organising and implementing a mobility scheme for beneficiaries’ staff members. This shall cover promotion of the scheme, recruitment, matching and follow-up of short-term visits or exchanges for professionals.

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Eligibility Criteria

Regions / countries for funding

EU Member States, Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT)
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Georgia (საქართველო), Iceland (Ísland), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Liechtenstein, Montenegro (Црна Гора), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна)

eligible entities

Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)

Mandatory partnership


Project Partnership

Proposals must be submitted by a consortium (Partnership) of at least 3 applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities), which complies with all the following conditions:

  • minimum 3 independent legal entities from 3 different eligible countries
  • at least one beneficiary must be a cluster organisation established in the territory under the control of the Ukrainian government, at the submission of the proposal
  • at least one must be a cluster organisation established in an EU Member State

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must: 

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
    • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
    • non-EU countries: listed EEA countries and countries associated to the Single Market Programme (list of participating countries)
  • be or be entitled to represent:
    • a cluster organisation
    • business network organisations that manage joint activities, facilitate networking and provide or channel specialised and customised business support services to their members and related actors
    • other types of “support organisations” supporting green and digital transitions and build EU resilience from the country eligible under the Single Market Programme. These support organisations may include technology centres, research institutes, fab labs, (digital) innovation hubs, creative hubs, resource-efficiency service providers, incubators and accelerators, and public authorities at both regional or city/administration levels and innovation agencies. 

Moreover: Applicants cannot participate in several Partnerships under this call for proposals. If such a case is detected by the funding body, it will lead to the ineligibility and exclusion of the organisation concerned. The respective consortia affected by the exclusion of (a) partner(s) must still fulfil all the eligibility criteria.

other eligibility criteria

Specific cases:

Exceptional funding — Entities from other countries (not listed above) are exceptionally eligible, if the granting authority considers their participation essential for the implementation of the action. 

Natural persons — Natural persons are NOT eligible (with the exception of selfemployed persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person). 

International organisations — International organisations are eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them. 

Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons. 

EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.

Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’ . Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible). 

Countries currently negotiating association agreements — Beneficiaries from countries with ongoing negotiations (see above) may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).

Financial support to third parties is not allowed.

Additional information


Administration & Governance, Institutional Capacity & Cooperation, 
Competitiveness of Enterprises, Employment/Labour Market, SME & entrepreneurship

Relevance for EU Macro-Region

EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region

UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)

project duration

between 18 and 24 months

Additional Information

Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System (accessible via the Topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.

Proposals (including annexes and supporting documents) must be submitted using the forms provided inside the Submission System ( NOT the documents available on the Topic page — they are only for information).

Proposals must be complete and contain all the requested information and all required annexes and supporting documents:

  • Application Form Part A — contains administrative information about the participants (future coordinator, beneficiaries and affiliated entities) and the summarised budget for the project (to be filled in directly online)
  • Application Form Part B — contains the technical description of the project (to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded)
  • mandatory annexes and supporting documents (templates available to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed, assembled and re-uploaded):
    • detailed budget table/calculator
    • CVs (short outlines) of core project team
    • list of previous projects (key projects for the last 4 years) (template available in Part B)
    • Eligibility Checklist and Ecosystem Selection “Annex 5 to part B” that can be downloaded from EISMEA’s call page and will need to be uploaded duly filled and signed together (as a single document) with the technical annex of the proposal entitled Application Form Part B (SMP COSME) document. (Please check carefully Section 6 ‘Eligibility’ of this call for proposals).

Your application must be readable, accessible and printable. Proposals are limited to maximum 50 pages (Part B). Evaluators will not consider any additional pages.

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