Project Cronos

Strengthening the innovation ecosystem of Cluj IT through smart specialization towards structural transformation and intellectual property based internationalization of the IT sector in Romania

Project Director – Prof. Dr. Ec. Dr. Stelian Brad
Project budget – 430 354 RON
Implementation period – 24 Months


Through this project, Cluj IT aims to strengthen the process of strategic alignment and innovation among cluster members in order to accelerate the development of innovative technologies and products through short-, medium- and long-term cooperation formulas, with international scaling prospects, based on research results stemming from cluster-specific structures and cluster research centers. The project will rely on the activity of cluster workgroups for smart specialization on various verticals of the IT sector (i.e. artificial intelligence, expert systems and blockchain for cyber security), but also horizontal, trans-sectoral (i.e. ITC in precision medicine, smart cities etc.). Through the 12 major industrial research and innovation activities organized in a three-step logical framework, the project will lead to the creation of strategic partnerships between the economic and research environment of the cluster, the identification of new products with high potential for internationalization, testing prototypes, while also creating a RDI strategy and a implementation plan for the cluster and increasing competencies in the field of business internationalization based on innovative products, strengthening cross-sector and inter-cluster cooperation, and developing institutionalized structures through which the cluster’s impact in the digitization of the economy will be enhanced. The aim of the project is to strengthen the process of strategic alignment and innovation among cluster members in order to accelerate the development of innovative technologies and products in the ITC sector with internationally scalable potential with the aid of cooperation on short, medium and long term, based on research results achieved by specific structures of universities and research centers which are members of Cluj IT Cluster.


Stage 1 (2018) of project implementation was mainly focused on developing the RD&I strategic agenda, based on results obtained from the following implemented activities, as follows:

  • Multiple actions on technological prospecting and analysis on development potential including:
    • Individual meetings with centers for technological transfer from 5 universities, members of Cluj IT
    • Meeting dedicated to prospecting the technological and innovation potential with participation of 4 research centers and 4 private companies, members of Cluj IT.
  • A seminar on Business Development and Internationalization was organized on the same date.
  • A prospecting of the technological base from universities and Cluj IT member companies was implemented. Positive expressions of interest resulted from both private and academic dimensions.
  • On June 28-29, 2018, an international brokerage and inter-cluster event was organized in Cluj-Napoca under the 3BS ICT Network Meeting (international network of the ITC industry at Balkan, Black Sea and Baltic regions where Cluj IT Cluster is a founding member).
  • The first University to Business (U2B) brokerage event was organized on September 27th
  • On November 9, the Digital Talks series of events was initiated with the title: IT & Medicine, as a matchmaking session between IT Cluj companies and research groups from UMF Cluj-Napoca
  • On Nov. 14, the second event Digital Talks: IT & Automotive was organized in Sibiu, in partnership with Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu.

Conclusions in relation to the result indicators planned for 2018

The CRONOS project has reached all the indicators, and in some cases it is above the planned level, such as the foundation of the innovation services, international inter-cluster events, brokerages facilitated at the level national. The lessons learned in the first phase (2018) of the CRONOS project indicate the following:

• There is all the data collected at the level of relevance to substantiate in the first part of 2019 (the end of February) the objectives of the RDI and of the priorities and implementation plans.

• Collaboration of IT firms – research groups from universities in the RDI is feasible, but requires careful assistance led by Cluj IT, as a change agent

• Time and other resources must be identified in order to accelerate the process of collaboration between IT companies – research groups from universities in RDI

Stage 2 (2019)

Project activities were directed towards continuing efforts of aligning the RDI projects and the economic sector within the cluster ecosystem. At the same time, steps have been taken in order to establish international collaborations with organizations and partners active within markets and industries of interest to the cluster members. Preparations for internationalization include organized economic missions and go-to-market studies applied to 5 solutions developed within the cluster ecosystem. Other activities implemented in this stage of the project implementation cover the benchmarking of existing solutions in a global market.

  • The first international economic mission from Rawabi City delegation was hosted by Cluj IT Cluster in Cluj-Napoca. The meeting between the participating delegates finalized with the signing of Cluj IT – Rawabi Tech Hub partnership.
  • March 21-22, International Brokerage: EU Startup Europe Summit 2019, organized in Cluj-Napoca, where Cluj IT facilitated the participation of two of it’s GOLD members: Endava Romania and CT Defense.
  • April 9-11, International Brokerage: EU-South Med Cluster Matchmaking, where Cluj IT Cluster was represented by Mr. Alexandru Tulai, Vicepresident on internationalization.
  • May 30th, steps for internationalization continue together with Moldavian Cluster ATIC through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding
  • May 31st, a dedicated matchmaking session called Matching Health was organized with the medical team from the Regional Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepathology “Prof. Dr. Octaian Fodor”.
  • June 2019, actions for cross-industry collaboration are initiated with the firs collaboration agreement signed between Cluj IT Cluster and ROHEALTH Cluster.
  • June 25th, the Digital Talks series initiated in the last semester of Stage 1 was continued with a matchmaking session between Cluj IT companies and research groups from the Cluj-Napoca Technical University.
  • July 2109 the “Matching Health” event is followed-up by an institutional collaboration agreement signed between Cluj IT Cluster and the Regional Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepathology “Prof. Dr. Octaian Fodor”
  • October 29th, the series of international brokerage events organized by Cluj IT continues with an economic mission organized and hosted by the cluster at the premises in the University of Medicine and Pharmacy premises. Delegates of the Sarajevo Canton and the IT industry in Bosnia Hertegovina had the opportunity to meet and discuss relevant issues with representatives of 4 member companies.
  • October 30th, Study visit at CREIC Center.
  • November 14th, International Brokerage: Moldova Business Week.
  • November 16th, Innovation Services: Digital Health Pitching Session
  • November 21st, Regional brokerage: Digitization of enterprises. Process and Benefits
  • November 27th – December 6th, International Brokerage: Cluj IT Cluster Economic Mission to East Africa
  • December 9-13 – Innovation services: SIDI Winter School on Internet Governance, Digital Policies and Innovatio. Invited speakers on
    • Digital transformation – Mr. Alexandru Tulai, Vicepresident of Cluj IT
    • Advanced digital technologies and economic growth: Global and regional perspectives – Prof. Dr. Stelian Brad, President of Cluj IT
  • December 13th – Innovation Workshop: Building Innovation. Finance & Acceleration

Conclusions in relation to the outcome indicators planned for 2019

The CRONOS project has reached all the indicators, and in some cases it is above the planned level, such as the foundation of innovation services, international inter-cluster events, brokerages facilitated at the level national and international. The lessons learned in the second phase (2019) of the CRONOS project indicate the following: – From the multitude of fields in which the Cluj IT cluster can create specialization, it is considered feasible to approach in stages, in the sense that it starts with maximum two directions through which the implementation mechanisms can be piloted. In this regard, it was decided that these directions should be “smart cities and territories” and “digitalization of the industry”. For these directions started the steps of setting up the packages of solutions and services, as well as the coordination formulas.

– The strategic approach between companies and universities depends first and foremost on the people involved in concrete projects. In this sense, the Cluj IT approach was and will be one that will consider entrepreneurship at the level of research groups in universities and less a top-down approach.

– The structural transformation of the IT sector is mandatory in the international context. From this point of view, Cluj IT has formulated a “change agent” type strategy that assists member companies to develop proprietary solutions.

– The Digital Innovation Center will be marketed as a Digital Innovation Hub, in which several partners from outside the cluster will be attracted, such as Chambers of Commerce, Employers Associations and Innovative Business Accelerators in the region. For the next stage of the project, no adjustments of the activities or the delivery time are required. It is also considered useful to introduce training sessions for companies in the field of innovation management.


B2U matchmaking: Projects with high potential for technological transfer, September 27th 2018

The first event organized under the CRONOS project was organized on the basis of internal exploration of projects with increased potential for technological transfer and innovation developed by research units active within 5 local Universities, members of Cluj IT Cluster. The B2U matchmaking was an internal session dedicated to exploring the potential collaboration among Cluj IT members based on the list of mapped projects. As a result, members from the private and research sectors of the cluster ecosystem set up bilateral meetings in order to discuss specific requirements of research projects in different stages of development.




Digital Talks: IT & Health, November 9th 2018

The Digital Talks series of events is developed around the facilitation of cross-industry connections and collaborations. A first such event was dedicated to facilitating innovation connections in the research directions of the national health strategy, focusing on collaboration between the IT industry and medicine. Along with the research department of “Iuliu Hatieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy from Cluj-Napoca, 18 representatives from the private sector, medical research, student entrepreneurial initiative and medical startups participated in a common meeting dedicated to identifying connection nodes on medical research projects where IT companies can provide technical solutions for further development.




Digital Talks: IT & Automotive, November 14th 2018

The second Digital Talks event was organized in collaboration with Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, having a strong focus on facilitating cross-industrial business connections among representatives of the IT and automotive sectors. The main topics addressed revolved around industry orientation 4.0, supporting digitization in the automotive industry, new business models and developed prototypes.








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INTERNATIONAL CLUSTER BROKERAGE: EU-SOUTH MED Cluster Matchmaking & TechDays, 9-11 April 2019

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CLUJ INNOVATION DAYS 2019: Memorandum of Understanding signing, MAY 30th 2019

The Moldovan Association of Information and Communications (ATIC) and Cluj IT Cluster agreed on initiating common actions and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the aim of building a strategic relationship for the purposes of promoting an international, entrepreneurial and education relationship between the two clusters. At the heart of the initiative lies the necessity to diversify services towards their members, i.e. enable sharing information, resources knowledge and innovation.







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A new installment of these meetings was hosted on June 25th by the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca where more than 35 participants from the IT industry and experts involved in active projects from research development and innovation groups attended. 15 ongoing projects with high potential for technology transfer were presented in a dedicated session, while delegates had the opportunity to match research initiatives with relevant competencies and technologies available within the industry.

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INTERNATIONAL BROKERAGE AND DIGITAL Partnerships: BIT ALLIANCE visit in Romania, October 29TH 2019

In order to strengthen the communication between organizations with similar purpose and to support the exchange of best practices, Cluj IT signed a memorandum of cooperation with Bit Alliance, during the recent visit to Cluj. The document was signed by Andrei Kelemen, Cluj IT executive director and Tatjana Vucic, Bit Alliance executive director during the Bosnian delegation’s meeting with representatives of the Cluj IT ecosystem and member companies. As a part of this meeting the CRONOS project was presented as as one of the transformative and high impact projects included in Cluj IT Cluster’s portfolio.

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STUDY VISIT: Foreign cluster delegates at creic cENTER, OCTOBER 30TH 2019

Under the CRONOS Project we are focusing on facilitating knowledge transfer and encouraging internationalization of the IT industry. As part of an economic mission organized and hosted by Cluj IT Cluster, delegates from  Bosnia Herzegovina, Albania and France had facilitated access to the CREIC building and it’s facilities.

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On November 16th members of the Cluj IT Cluster Board of Directors and delegates of our member companies participated in the pitching session organized by our partners from @ASAIH and consulted students on their pitches of innovative solutions in medicine. The jury, composed of business representatives, deliberated, the results declared Vertigo as the winner of the start-up competition.


REGIONAL BROKERAGE: digitization of enterprises. Process and Benefits, NOVEMBER 21st 2019

The process of digitization of industries is an area of interest not only for specialized companies, but also for organizations actively supporting innovation. The event organized in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Bistrita Nasaud represented an opportunity for both IT companies providing digitization solutions, as well as key participants working in non-IT sectors.

Cluj IT President and CRONOS Project Director, Mr. Stelian Brad, opened the topic on digital transformation with some insights on what digital transformation is and how it should be approached. Additionally, three IT companies, members of Cluj IT Cluster, were invited to bring their contribution to the event agenda and open up topics such as digitized document management, production robotization and cyber security  with non-IT companies interested in the digitization process. The event ended with a company visit from Cluj IT delegates and members to a factory specialized in steel processing.


INTERNATIONAL BROKERAGE: Cluj IT Cluster Economic Mission to  East Africa, 27 NOVEMBER – 6 December 2019

Under the CRONOS Project, cluster members interested in expanding internationally especially to markets in East Africa took part in an economic mission focused on working with the local IT community in Kenya and Uganda, in order to find bridges for collaboration and bringing the two industries together on issues like jobs, projects, and sharing of knowledge. Discussions and meetings in Kenya were hosted by CMS-Africa, where delegates of 4 companies members of Cluj IT Cluster sat down with delegates of the Kenyan IT industry. The economic mission is still in implementation at the moment. More updates will be provided as soon as made available.


INNOVATION SERVICES: SIDI winter school on Internet Governance, Digital policies and Innovation agenda, 9-13DECEMBER 2019

In this ever-growing digital age, there is no doubt that concept such as Digital Innovation, Internet Governance and Digital Policies are becoming more and more significant for citizens. We chose to help interested people get close to these concepts by supporting SIDI Winter School, a program designed for students and professionals keen to enrich their perspective on technology. Because the first edition of SIDI Winter School is approaching (9-13 December), we are happy to announce that we will have two speakers representing us on the agenda.

On Day 3, the SIDI Winter school participants will have the chance to hear more about the challenges and opportunities in the digital economy from our speakers.  Alexandru Tulai, Vice President Cluj IT, will talk about digital transformation, focusing on a reality-based approach. He will answer questions regarding how is this process developing, who are the ones who can benefit from it, which is the impact on communities and many other related aspects.

The other speaker is Mr. Stelian Brad, President of Cluj IT, who will cover the subject of Advanced digital technologies and economic growth: Global and regional perspectives. He will bring clarifications on advanced digital technologies to better understand their potential in the economic growth, emphasizing the implications on competitiveness, as well as the public policies that should be considered in order to benefit from these technologies.

Although it is the first edition of SIDI Winter School, the program had a large number of applicants to whom we wanted to show our support. Therefore, the costs for participation were covered for a participant from the Balkan, Black Sea and Baltic region, who won a scholarship with the help of 3B ICT Network, our partners. We continue to support the digitization process, and we are doing this by providing support services and expertise to the wider community, especially for SMEs that feel the need for digitization, but also for public authorities, institutions and others.

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INNOVATION WORKSHOP: Building Innovation. Finance & Acceleration, 13DECEMBER 2019

SME Instruments is a concept of interest at European level that places at the center of interest the field of innovation supported by intelligent growth mechanisms. The session will be facilitated by Dr. Florin-Călin Păun, whose expertise is shaped by his professional activity started in the field of innovative industries. Director of innovation, coach for entrepreneurship and theoretician of the evolution of models and innovative tools for practice, his scientific works have gained worldwide recognition and have revealed the emergence of a new French innovation model. Our aim is to bring local innovators closer to the SME instrument and stimulate and support them to apply for the program.

Registrations are still open on the meet-up page:

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Project financed by UEFISCDI – Program 2 – Competitive growth of Romanian economy through RDI – Subprogram 2.1 – Cluster organization and development – Innovative Cluster
*Finantat de catre UEFISCDI – Program 2  – Creșterea competitivității economiei românești prin CDI – Subprogram 2.1 – Organizare și dezvoltare cluster – Cluster Inovativ

Contract no. 9CLS; 04/06/2018 (PN-III-P2-2.1-CLS-2017-0041)

For more information please send your inquiries to:

Project Director Stelian Brad: stelian.brad [at]

Communications Officer Diana Campian: diana.campian [at]