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The European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA) originates in the European Cluster Excellence Initiative initiated by the European Commission. ESCA heads a European network of cluster experts who implement a three-step quality audit for cluster and network organisations. Thus far, more than 850 organisations from 40 countries have submitted themselves to the audit. In addition, ESCA advises funding agencies, ministries and political decision-makers in developing cluster policy.

VDI/VDE-IT is the organisational carrier of the secretariat and, aside from executing the audit programme, it is also responsible for its continuous development.