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Centres of Competence in Weser-Ems

Regional centres of competence in sectors important for the regional economy, Weser-Ems region, Germany


Contact person: 

Dieter Meyer


URL: (new website under construction)

Link of the GP to the RIS3 steps:

Step 5. Establishment of suitable policy mixes


Country:  Germany         Name of the region:  Weser-Ems       NUTS Level:    2


Description of the GP:

One of the main results of RIS Weser-Ems in 1998 was the development of regional Competence Centres in the sectors important to the regional economy. Typically founded and borne by a consortium consisting of relevant actors from administration, economy and science, the role of these centres is:

  •  Development of new technologies and solving the companies’ technological problems
  •  Centre of knowledge in the specific field.

In Weser-Ems, the fields of competence for each centre has been elaborated during the RIS exercise and are based on the selection and consensus among regional stakeholders. The approach of Weser-Ems is focused on sectors which are:

  •  Important for the whole region or at least 2/3 of it;
  •  Internationally oriented (existing companies which are international market leaders);
  •  Characterised by an existing complete value chain in the region
  •  Characterised by the possibility to include sub-sectors.

Among others, the daily tasks of the Competence Centres are, for instance, the bringing together and networking of economic and scientific stakeholders, the representation of regional interests in their specific fields, consulting of actors and the further developing of know-how in their field of competence.


Challenges addressed by the GP:

Organize it – Helping actors create synergies in their actions
Organize it – Involving different groups of actors

Impact and beneficiaries:

The most important impact that needs to be mentioned is the increase of R&D in sectors that are essential for the regional economy. The Competence Centres established in Weser-Ems have not only contributed highly to good cooperation between actors from the field of science and economy in this regard but also enhanced the collaboration between actors within the same sector (e.g. businesses) and established a closely connected network of relevant actors.

Due to their specialisation and know-how as well as their focused network, the Competence Centres were also able to initiate and implement projects to further develop needed technologies, push forward innovative ideas and thereby provide a vehicle for cooperation that benefits the region, its economy as well as the inhabitants.

Requirements and limitations:

An important prerequisite for the establishment of regional Competence Centres is found in the necessity to know what the region is competent in. This can be accomplished through analyses and studies, consultations, participation processes, stakeholder conferences, workshops etc. One of the probably most often used and also highly efficient ways to determine the field(s) of competence of a region is to carry out an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (so-called SWOT-analysis) that identifies the profile of the region.

Subsequently, a focus has to be set by selecting pivotal sectors for the regional economy in order to build up Competence Centres in the fields that are of utmost importance and drive forward the specialisation of the region.

Another premise is a functioning culture of cooperation between various parts and actors of the region such as different local authorities, research institutions, economic actors etc. This is important in order to ensure a positive development of the Competence Centre and support its prominent role in the region thereby securing its success and benefits for all involved actors.

Funding source:

The Competence Centres are financed both by public sources (grants from regional public actors, the national government and EU programmes) as well as private funds (fees, shares and sponsoring).

Annual budget: 500 – 1.000 T€