Developers of road vehicles, R&D actors and public institutions currently face the challenge of transforming road vehicle technology and market. Road vehicles need to become radically more green, safe and intelligent. In Europe, the road transport sector is responsible for almost one fifth of the total green house gas emissions. More than 700 million vehicles are used for road transportation and by 2050 the number of vehicles may grow to over 3 000 million. The sector of road transportation has the largest effect on global mean temperature rise of all categories of transport. While there may be a discussion on the details of this impact, it is generally agreed that the contribution to climate change from the road transport sector is a substantial and growing problem. Increased economic growth and increased environmental impact need to be decoupled, and this may require radically new transport solutions with zero or little CO2 footprint. Electric or hybrid electric vehicles and alternative fuels are key technologies.


Safety for drivers, passengers and other road users is another central problem that that needs to be addressed. In 2009, 34 500 people died on the roads of the European Union and 1 500 000 persons were injured. The societal cost is very large, estimated at approximately 130 billion Euros in 2009. A substantial decrease of death and serious injury will require radical improvements in accident prevention, e.g. through accident avoidance systems, active systems for safety, protection systems for injury and an enhanced knowledge on injury mechanisms and post-crash safety. Thus, important research-based drivers today are accident mitigation and implementation of carbon neutral technology.

Project overview

Safe and Green Road Vehicles (SAGE) aims to strengthen regional capacity in research and innovation in accordance to the Europe 2020 strategy for sustainable growth. SAGE represents a network of regional research driven clusters with strong automotive industry that aims to prepare for and facilitate an increasing pace of innovation within the major European growth market for safe and green road vehicles for passengers and goods. “Green” translates as a focus on knowledge and solutions for radical reduction of CO2 emissions and energy use, and “safe” as a focus on active and intelligent solutions that substantially change the safety of the road transport system. 


The contribution of SAGE is that it combines a solid knowledge and description of competence and technology with a description of the societal clustering building activity and cluster management needed.  


SAGE addresses five key objectives:


1. Assess the capacity of several of Europe’s most important regional research driven clusters;


2. Assemble a portfolio of best practices as regards cluster management and research and innovation policy. The portfolio includes cluster within SAGE as well as selected Asian clusters;


3. Expand the SAGE network with emerging regional clusters and increasing their potential to contribute; 


4. Develop a common SAGE agenda with long and short term goals for innovation, research and education; and finally,


5. Enable and stimulate efficient and reliable knowledge exchange through an innovation and IP management system.


SAGE is financed by the European Union 7th Framework Programme within the theme Regions of Knowledge. The project runts from late 2011 to late 2014 and has a total budget of approximately 3 million Euros. 


The work in SAGE is organised in eight work packages, the first one being the management of the project.


The inventory is the foundation for future work in SAGE and it will be conducted at the very beginning of the project. It will provide knowledge about the competences and ability of the actors that each cluster ‘contains’ or ‘represent’. The objective is to show the capacity and innovation potential of the respective cluster with respect to the specific knowledge and development focus of SAGE. Knowledge about the creation and management of cluster initiatives will be made against a background description of the general innovation system in automotive sector of each region.


A SWOT analysis will be conducted at both regional and global level to find out what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the automotive clusters. The analyses shall build on commonly agreed success factors for knowledge-based cluster development and provide support for decision making in the elaboration of a joint action plan and business plan. The SWOT analysis of the consortium will focus specifically on cross comparison of the clusters in order to identify gaps and overlaps.

Joint Action Plan

Based on the findings in the inventory and the analysis, a joint action plan for future research and innovation activities will be elaborated by the consortium, with the objective to boost the competitiveness of the road vehicle sector. It will include a common vision, regional research agendas, development and facilitation of joint research, education and innovation projects, development of means for increased mobility and enhanced skills and knowledge transfer and a business plan to provide for a durable financial structure of the continued SAGE cooperation.

Capacity and collaboration building

When the joint action plan is finalised the SAGE consortium will prepare for the implementation. Activities include identification of possible research projects, match-making, deploying best practise, infrastructure cooperation, people exchange, measures towards smart specialisation and the testing of an IP and innovation management system. While some activities will be executed within the frame of SAGE, others will be spin-offs seeking financing elsewhere.


The objective is to map the capacity of European regions and to support regions with a potential to contribute to growth in the European automotive sector. Warsaw University of Technology is a partner of the SAGE consortium and the first case study. At least three other regions with emerging clusters will be identified. Activities include cluster assessment methodology, seminars, joint communication tools, people exchange and cluster know-how activities.

International collaboration

With the objective to identify and benchmark international automotive clusters, the SAGE consortium will map and analyse at least five relevant regions outside Europe, with a specific focus on Asia. This work shall result in an international strategy to be included in the joint action plan. The consortium shall travel to three selected international clusters in order to learn from others and establish cooperation on high level.


Dissemination of project results has a high priority for SAGE, as a project aiming at setting up partnerships, developing and implementing cooperation models, promoting open innovation and generating knowledge on cluster development and management. Activities will include publications, events, conferences and of course a high quality website and regular newsletters. The SAGE partners all have broad networks on regional, national and international level that will be used to further strengthen the SAGE trademark.


SAGE brochure more 

Newsletter #5–6

SAGE Newsletter #5–6 more