Servicing companies in the Big Science market

Welcome to the world of Big Science, an international market that is rapidly evolving and holds immense potential for growth. It involves business partnerships between different sector entities and large-scale Big Science infrastructures. (Denmark), INEUSTAR (Spain), and LITEK™ (Lithuania) created the BIGINN Partnership in order to mobilize clusters to explore the potential of innovation and international cooperation from the Big Science market.

Over the past two years, the BIGINN Partnership has been tirelessly working to structure and boost this market across Europe. They have facilitated pan-European Big Science events and have been investigating and applying new services for companies and building cluster-excellence.

Short-term visits attracted the interest

One of the key initiatives implemented by the BIGINN Partnership is the ClusterXchange mobility scheme. This scheme has led to the organization of 10 short-term visits (business missions) across 9 countries, involving up to 180 participants in total. These events have added more than 300 hours of active agenda, where 65% of the involved entities were SMEs along with scaling-up support organizations, clusters, and large companies.

The BIGINN Partnership has provided participants with a unique opportunity to introduce themselves to a broad and tailored audience from the Big Science facilities. As Esther Davidsen, a Senior Specialist at, puts it, “I did not know that the BigScience facilities rarely receive visits from larger groups of companies. Bringing larger xchange groups incited the facility employees to show up in numbers to hear the company presentations and participate in workshops. The participating companies were grateful to be able to present to many BigScience employees at the same time. They were also surprised at how valuable the network amongst them proved to be.”

The BIGINN Partnership has also found that the success of a Xchanges lies not only in an engaging agenda, but also in an optimal duration of the visit. Leonor Mendoza, Project Manager at INEUSTAR, shares her insights with the stakeholders: “We noticed that 2-days or 1 full-day event in a facility is optimal. Xchanges or business missions give better results in terms of engaging the host and visiting organisations, organizing workshops and boosting networking between participants.”

Fig. 1. A total of 10 exchanges, developed in 9 different countries.

Assessing and Enhancing Cluster Services in the Big Science Market

To better understand the needs of cluster members acting in the Big Science market, the BIGINN Partnership has conducted a cluster service survey. The services evaluated in this survey were based on those listed in the Gold Cluster assessment document1, as presented by the European Secretariat of Cluster Excellence Analysis (ESCA), and those previously surveyed by, LITEK™ and INEUSTAR clusters.

The insights gained from this survey have allowed the Partnership to develop a comprehensive Toolbox. This Toolbox details the top 9 services valued by cluster members, along with the estimated effort required to implement or execute each service. It serves as a valuable resource for all Big Science clusters, helping them to strengthen their service portfolios for their members.

Fig. 2. Value (the need for a specific service) and effort (resources needed to implement the cluster services) analysis of cluster services. Cluster services aimed at direct contact/networking and matchmaking are prioritized highest by cluster members.

“The BIGINN project has helped us understand both the challenges of the BigScience market and our own internal challenges much better. Our membership services have been analysed and benchmarked, and we have looked deeply into our own competences as cluster manager”, says E. Davidsen.

Fig. 3. Toolbox: SME Cluster services for the Big Science segment (see .

What’s next?

BIGINN Partnership is playing a pivotal role in shaping the future of Big Science ecosystem. The efforts have not only boosted the market across Europe but also fostered innovation and collaboration among various stakeholders.

The BIGINN project has interacted well with the BigScience community and helped identify and shape existing networks and facilitate activities into more structured cluster thinking. This is a stepping stone for more knowledge sharing and future collaboration.  

Inthe final roundtable discussion, Industrial Liaison Officers (ILOs), procurement specialists, and innovation experts from Big Science facilities, alongside other stakeholders of the Partnership, exchanged learnings and insights. The discussion underscored the critical influence of Big Science Organizations on both scientific advancement and industrial growth. It also shone a light on the vital role that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play in collaborating with BSOs, and the promising outlook of these partnerships. There was a unanimous agreement among stakeholders that the concept of “Big Science” merits recognition as a distinctive trademark, emphasizing the potential of acting clusters in this market. 

“We are committed to leveraging the groundwork laid by BIGINN to cultivate the Big Science sector as a distinguished business domain,” states Esther, reflecting the collective aspiration. 

The BIGINN Partnership is dedicated to nurturing this field, fostering an environment where science and industry intersect and thrive. The Partnership invites the cluster community to join this exciting journey to expand the boundaries of Big Science, ensuring it remains a beacon of innovation and collaboration. 

BIGINN: A new beginning for business and Big Science Innovation project ( co-funded by COSME program (GA No. 101037928, COS-CLUSTER-2020-3-03-1). BIGINN partnership is willing to unlock the innovation potential of clusters in relationship with Big Science organizations and bring SMEs and other interested parties closer to Big Science market