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North Rhine-Westphalia continues to be the industrial heartland of Europe. Through our industrial policy, we assist industry with bringing innovative products successfully to the lead markets of the future.

North Rhine-Westphalia as one of the leading economic regions in Europe has mas­tered a difficult structural change from coal and steel towards a future-oriented lo-cation for science and industry. One of the key elements for NRW´s industrial policy will be the focus on eight identified lead markets of the future, in which NRW has strength and advantages through (smart) specialization. Clusters play a very impor­tant role by supporting further development of these markets and linking the part­ners in the value chains. Through the focus on the lead markets – New Materials, Machinery and Plant Engineering/Production Technology, Health, Information- and Communication Technologies, Mobility and Logistics, Energy and Environ-ment, Life Sciences, Media and Creative Industries – NRW opens up enormous opportunities for partners in the value chain while supporting technological, economic and social innovation as well as tackling global challenges.

In addition NRW is developing a technology-transfer strategy especially for SMEs, which links the focus on lead markets with a research-oriented strategy Fortschritt. NRW. Fortschritt.NRW gives especially universities and other key research organisa­tions a framework to find solu-tions for the grand challenges in lead markets. In the draft of these strategies as well as the combined regional innovation strategy the stakeholders were and will be involved, which will lead to a successful imple­mentation of the strategies. This will sharpen the profile of NRW as a location for successful undertakings in industry and services as well as a location for sci-ence. Fruitful cross-innovation activities with solutions regarding resource efficiency in the industrial sector or new customer relations and business models are only a few positive ex-amples of the smart specialization efforts of NRW.

Furthermore, NRW welcomes and supports interregional cooperation such as the “Top Tech-nology Region – Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen technology triangle” (TTR-ELAt) and related pro-jects like Cross Border Cluster Stimulation (G.C.S.; and Top-Technology-Cluster (TTC;

Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia