Cluster life cycles – The role of actors, networks and institutions in emerging, growing, declining and renewing clusters

  • Tödtling, Franz (PI - Project head)
  • Auer, Alexander (Researcher)
  • Höglinger, Christoph (Researcher)
  • Sinozic, Tanja (Researcher)

Project Details

Financing body

Austrian Science Fund


Ample research has been carried out on the mode of functioning of clusters. Little scholarly attention, however, has received the way how clusters evolve over time, i.e. how clusters actually become clusters, how and why they decline, and how they shift into new fields. The main objectives of this collaborative research project has therefore been to analyse the factors and processes that are responsible for the evolution and –transformation of clusters; to distinguish between endogenous and exogenous drivers through the cluster life cycle; and to give policy advice which helps to create new clusters, prevent existent clusters from decline and transform declining clusters into new clusters.

The research project has investigated 20 clusters in different phases of their life cycle in 7 countries of Europe. For Austria three clusters in different phases of their life cycles were investigated: The environmental technology industry in Upper Austria representing a maturing cluster within a traditional industrial region, the “creative industries” in Vienna representing a growing cluster within a diversified agglomeration; and the Medical Technology Cluster in Vienna, an industry that has seen a considerable institutional and globalisation challenges and transformation recently. The analysis of the Austrian cases has focussed on firm- and cluster development in the different regional settings, on the role of internal and external drivers in this respect, and on factors and appropriate policy support for cluster renewal and innovative change.
Effective start/end date1/09/1131/12/15

Collaborative partners

  • Vienna University of Economics and Business (lead)
  • Charles University - Faculty of Science (Project partner)
  • Lund University - Circle/ Department of Social and Economic Geography (Project partner)
  • Universität Bremen (Project partner)
  • Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (Project partner)
  • University of Neuchatel (Project partner)
  • University of Agder - Faculty of Economics and Social Science (Project partner)

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (OEFOS)

  • 502039 Structural policy
  • 507026 Economic geography
  • 507
  • 507023 Location development