Since the early 1980s, developed country governments have made a strong effort to promote cooperative industrial research. Europe has been at the forefront. The support of international research consortia has been the major funding mechanism of the Framework Programmes on RTD. Awareness and support for cooperative RTD has also increased at the national level, but there are great policy approach differences between member states as well as between Europe as a whole and the United States and Japan. An interesting development of the last couple decades in Europe seems to be the increasing convergence of key policy areas at the national level that directly affect the incentives of firms to participate in research joint ventures, namely competition policies and intellectual property rights policies.
Direct support to promote cooperative research and development activities – research joint ventures (RJVs in short) has gained enormously in popularity in recent years. There is by now voluminous theoretical economic literature on the incentives of firms to join RJVs. Unfortunately with relatively few exceptions, theoretical analysis has not been followed by systematic empirical work and the impact of the policies adopted has not been sufficiently evaluated. The object of the proposed research is to do exactly this.
The main objectives of the proposed research are the following:
- To describe the evolution of policies towards RJVs in a specified representative sample of seven EU member states and compare them with the respective policies practiced in the United States and Japan.
- To examine the impact of the above policies on individual enterprises, industrial clusters and sectors, regions and countries. and to provide an overall assessment of the interplay between EU and national policies.
- To evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented RJVs policies in promoting a number of public policy objectives such as industrial competitiveness, employment creation, skills upgrading, SMEs access to RTD-system, economic and social cohesion.
- Last, to examine the relationship between RJV policies with other policies at the European and national levels and, again, provide comparative analysis with the USA and Japan. A special emphasis will be given to policies towards competition, intellectual property rights (IPRs) and cohesion.
Since RJVs are a distinct form of interfirm cooperation, the starting point of our analysis will be the enterprise. We will create an extensive EU-based RJVs data base compiling datasets of firms which participated in RJVs sponsored by EU programmes. This EU-based RJVs data base will be compatible with a similar US-based RJVs data base, which has already been created under the supervision of a key-member of the coordinating team. It should be mentioned that the comparability of the results across the two regions is of enormous interest for policy analysts and policy- makers. The processing of these data sets through the use of quantitative analysis will be combined with in-depth qualitative analysis of technology and other policies affecting RJVs.
Furthermore, a number of case studies will be undertaken in order to better understand the factors affecting the formation and impact of RJVs in the EU.
The project will provide results and tools of great value to economists and other social scientists and company managers interested in industrial organization and technological change as well as policy decision makers interested in improving current policies to enhance their socio – economic
For more information: cordis.europa.eu