Introduction of the association MSDK
At the turn of the new millennium, the Moravian-Silesian Region, as the most industrial region of the Czech Republic, suffered from long-lasting problems caused by its strong reliance on heavy industry. Coal mining was stopped, industrial activity within the heavy industry was decreasing and unemployment was consequently increasing. A new word – cluster – appeared in the conversations of many in this difficult period. Clusters are generally seen as groups of intertwined companies, their suppliers, service providers and other subjects from neighbouring fields, adjacent institutions and organisations which cooperate within the same region. These subjects may act as competitors but they also cooperate. Connections between subjects within a cluster may help their competitiveness. Cooperation of companies inside a cluster improves their results. It enables to increase innovation and export and to attract investments. Clusters often considerably support research and development in the region. Therefore, clusters effectively contribute to economic growth of both the involved companies but also of whole regions.
It was innovation and the need to increase competitiveness which seemed to be the remedy for a lengthy recession that affected the Moravian-Silesian Region. Based on the study of the MS region, certain spheres with a potential to grow were identified as the most suitable fields which could help the region to develop. A model of cluster co-operation was selected as the most appropriate form to accelerate innovation, research and development and to increase the competitiveness of companies.
In 2005, the Moravian-Silesian Wood-Processing Cluster became the second cluster to be established in the Czech Republic. In 2010 the cluster had existed for nearly 6 years. The organisation focused mainly on support for research, development and innovation, support for education and co-operation between schools, firms and the general Promotion of wood-processing and civil engineering industries with the goal product – timber construction. The desire to innovate and to increase the competitiveness led the cluster representatives towards the idea to establish, in co-operation with VŠB-Technical University of Ostrava, a new R esearch and Innovation Centre for the Moravian-Silesian Wood-Processing Cluster. Only a few months passed between the initial idea and its actual realisation. The company of RD Rýmařov, s.r.o. was selected as the general supplier. Its supportive attitude towards innovation was, without doubt, the main driving force of the whole project.
The project organised by the wood-processing cluster is exceptional at least in another two points:
- The whole construction was realised on the campus of VŠB – Technical University of Ostrava, Faculty of Civil Engineering. It is the location of the building and its tight connection with the base of scientific work that laid the foundation stone of further co-operation on research, development and innovation tasks of the cluster, its members and the Technical University.
- Since the foundation of the research and innovation centre for the wood-processing cluster, many guided tours have taken place during which the building was introduced to students of technical disciplines with the aim to present how modern technology is applied in practice and to support a potential co-operation amongst schools, their students and firms. We consider projects in the area of secondary and university education to be the most important.
Equally important are also projects which secure a better connection between schools and the private sector through the organisation of placements and internship experience for secondary school students, apprentice centres students and university students.