4Gune Cluster upgraded: a multiscale and cross-disciplinary business + university euroregional ecosystem in response to Industry 4.0 socioeconomic challenges

“4Gune, an example of a multiscale, cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral University + Business Cluster to consolidate systemic and impactful interactions in the Basque Country and Aquitaine around the Industry 4.0.”

Ekhi Atutxa
Euskampus Foundation

Igor Campillo
Euskampus Foundation

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Elena Urdaneta
Euskampus Foundation

Background and Objectives
Led by the Basque Government's Department of Education and eleven university centres in the Basque Country, the Cluster for University Training in Engineering, Science and Technology, 4GUNE, began its work in July 2017 with the objective of helping strengthen university + business cooperation in the Basque Country as part of the new global stage, under the Industry 4.0 paradigm.
The aspect that makes this initiative stand out is promoting and consolidating cooperative dynamics between companies and universities in the region which, in turn, promote the Basque Country's positioning as a benchmark in Europe for systemic cooperation in Industry 4.0. Thus, 4Gune is characterised by promoting cooperation and collaboration within and amongst universities. Systemic cooperation aligned with the 2022 University-Business Strategy of the Basque Government, which ultimately has the purpose of:
1) Promoting innovation and collaborative entrepreneurship.
2) Strengthening strategic alliances between universities and companies.
3) Promoting the transfer of university knowledge to the business world, and vice versa.
4) Building upon the relationship between research groups and businesses.
5) Increasing education's impact on professional development.
It is not possible to properly respond to this gubernamental strategy without the convergence of other socioeconomic agents apart from University. From the very beginning are also members of Cluster 4Gune:
• Basque business development agency (SPRI) of the Basque Government, dependent on the Department of Economic Development and Infrastructures.
• The Basque Business Confederation (Confebask). An organisation which represents and defends the general and shared interests of Basque businesspeople.
• The AIC-Automotive Intelligence Center. A value generation site for the automotive industry based on an open innovation concept, in which companies improve their competitiveness through cooperation.
• Innobasque is a private non-profit association that includes civil society and companies, focusing on the innovation which drives the motor behind social and economic transformation.
Besides these close connections, in order to strengthen interactions with the Basque Science, Technology and Innovation System, a coordination group with the RIS3 Basque Industry 4.0 Steering Group has been activated and systematised. This permanent cooperation allows aligning activities and coming together in those cases in which value could be generated for both initiatives.