Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Management & Enterprise

First Advisor

Dr. John Hobbs


Industry clusters (Porter, 1990, 1998b) have been the focus of numerous studies, and public policy programmes in recent decades (Ketels, 2013b). The maritime sector in particular has seen a number of maritime cluster organisations established in recent years as policy tools for regional development. Cluster analysis has focused on identifying and mapping clusters, yet comparatively little research has been undertaken on the optimal structure for cluster organisations (or initiatives) as additionality policy tools, to achieve the aim of strengthening cluster linkages and boosting the innovation capacity of cluster firms.

Therefore this research addresses the following questions:

1. To what extent is there a functioning maritime cluster in the Cork region, what model best describes its structure, and its development to date?

2. How effective is the IMERC cluster organisation in its role of bridging `innovation gaps' and facilitating linkages between the cluster actors?

A nested methodology incorporating an analysis of cluster firms' linkages utilising the V-LINC methodology; participatory evaluation conducted in the form of a Delphi study; and case studies; is used to analyse the effect the structure of a cluster organisation has on linkages within clusters. The analysis concludes that there is a functioning nascent maritime cluster in the Cork region. It also find that the IMERC cluster organisation is playing an effective role in bridging `innovation gaps' between cluster actors.

Keywords: Industry clusters, Innovation Gaps, Cluster Analysis, V-LINC, Cluster Organisations, Cluster Initiatives, Cluster Linkages, Delphi Study, Maritime.

Access Level


Project Identifier

info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EU/FP7/319855//Resources Efficient Maritime Capacity/REMCap