The CENTROPE countries show a remarkable potential in the field of digital technologies. Austria has developed from a digital dwarf to Central Europe’s turntable in ICT, and the three new EU members Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary have been leapfrogging to catch up with European standards in a remarkable speed. These potentials, though, have by far not yet been fully exploited, not least caused by the fact that borders are still mental and physical barriers. But there is also another reason, embedded in a mentality that these countries have in common: The gap between science and economy, research and business.
CENTROPE’s ICT potential consists of about 5,000 ICT companies with more than 10 employees, employing about 350,000 specialists. About 60 universities and research organisations run ICT relevant institutes and departments, employing 36,000 researchers. These facts have led four teams from Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia to a project called CENTROPE Information Technology Transfer (CITT). The project has been initiated by Vienna’s IT Cluster “Vienna IT Enterprises” (VITE).
After two years of work on assessing and analysing the ICT industry and the ICT related research landscape of the CENTROPE region, the CITT consortium has compiled sufficient data and developed a range of tools to start out for new endeavours. The goal of CITT has been to investigate CENTROPE’s potential for more ICT related cooperation between business and research and, based upon this, develop concepts for a cross border ICT cluster network in the region.
According to the project consortium, the core of a successful CENTROPE ICT-cluster are export oriented businesses, which are selling their products and services outside of the region while supporting the local job market, local retailers and service businesses. A model for a successful business can be seen in the automotive cluster in Slovakia or Györ/Hungary. This project was co-financed within the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission
Further information: CITT – CENTROPE Information Technology Transfer