Internationalisation of research and technology


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Trends, issues and implications for science and technology policies in Europe
Research policy and organisation


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Working Paper
of Research
and Technology:
trends, issues
and implications for
science and technology
policies in Europe
European Technology
Assessment Network
Edith CRESSON, Member of the Commission
responsible for research, innovation, education, training and youth.
DG XII/AS-3 - RDT Actions: Strategy and Coordination
Contact: - Mr. N. Kastrinos - rue de la Loi. 200 (SOME 11/73). B-1049 Brussels
Tel: (32-2) 296 38 85 - Fax (32-2) 296 70 26 E-mail :
Directorate General XII - Science, Research and Development
LEGAL NOTICE: Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission is
responsible for the use which might be made of the following information.
A great deal of additional information on the European Union is available on the Internet.
It can be accessed through the Europa server (
Cataloguing data can be found at the end of this publication.
Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1998
ISBN 92-828-5533-3
© European Communities, 1998 ETAN Working Paper
Internationalisation of Research and Technology:
Trends, Issues and Implications for S&T Policies
in Europe
Prepared by an Independent ETAN Expert Working Group
for the
European Commission
Directorate General XII
Directorate AS - RTD Actions: Strategy and Co-ordination
Brussels/Luxembourg, July 1998 TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. OverviewI
2. Introduction IX
3. Internationalisation of Research and Technology: Main Trends X
4. Implications and Recommendations for European S&T Policy XVI
2.1. Basic Processes of the Internationalisation of Research and Technology 3
2.1.1. International Exploitation of Technology Produced on a National Basis 5
Résumé 11
2.1.2. International Techno-scientific Collaboration 1
2.1.3. International Generation of Innovations 20
Résumé 3
2.2. Internationalisation vs. Concentration of Core Competencies in the
Home Country ?
II 2.3. Glocalisation: Shifts Between the Regional, National and
European Policy Level 34
2.3.1. Trend Towards "Industrial Hollywoods" 35
2.3.2. Growing Importance of "Lead Markets"6
2.3.3. "Glocalisation" Requires a New Division of Labour Between
Regional and National Policy Level 3
Résumé 38
3.1. Fostering Extra-European S&T Cooperation and Mobility 41
3.2. Making the EU an Attractive Location for Companies and R&D Institutes 43
3.3. Strengthening the Absorptive Capacities of Organisations in the Community
to Acquire Internationally Distributed Knowledge 4
3.4. European Innovation Policy: Integrating Different Policy Areas and Using
More Indirect Policies 51
3.5. New Framework for Global Policy Coordination and Priority-setting 55
Frieder Meyer-Krahmer, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI),
Karlsruhe, GERMANY
Guido Reger, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI), Karlsruhe, and
University of Brandenburg, GERMANY
Members of the Expert Working Group
Daniele Archibugi, Istituto di studi sulla ricerca e documentazione scientifica del C.N.R.,
Thomas Durand, Stratégie et Technologie, Ecole Centrale Paris, FRANCE
José Molerò, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias
Económicas y Empresariales, Madrid, SPAIN
Keith Pavitt, Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), Brighton, UNITED KINGDOM
Luc Soete, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT),
Örjan Sölvell, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, SWEDEN
Experts Invited to Working Group Meetings
Simona Iammarino, Department of Economics, University of Reading, Whiteknights,
Peter Plougmann, Danish Technological Institute (DTI), Taastrup, DENMARK
Officers Responsible
Isi Saragossi,
Nikolaos Kastrinos,
Josephine Stein,
DG XII - Science, Research and Development, Strategy and Coordination, New Initiatives
and ETAN
Other European Commission Staff Involved
Daniel Descoutures,
DG XII - Science, Research and Development,
Cooperation with non-member countries and international organisations
Wim van Deelen,
DG XII - Science, Research and Development,
Cooperation with non-member countries and international organisations
Rogier Holla,
DG III - Industry
David Hudson,
DG I - External Relations: Commercial policy and relations with North America,
the Far East, Australia and New Zealand FOREWORD
European Technology Assessment Network (ETAN)
The purpose of ETAN is to promote communication and debate at the European level between
researchers and policy-makers on important science and technology (S&T) policy issues.
ETAN convenes expert working groups that review, synthesise and consolidate socio­
economic research results and identify issues and options for discussion by experts, policy­
makers and other stakeholders. The ultimate aim is to promote a shared understanding of the
issues in order to facilitate, where appropriate, the development of more consistent, concerted
and complementary European and national S&T policies.
Expert Working Group
The ETAN Expert Working Group on "Internationalisation of Research and Technology:
Trends, Issues and Implications for S&T Policies in Europe" met three times in 1997 to
consider the implications of the internationalisation of research and technology for European
technology policies. The Working Group adopted a focus on firms, although in full
recognition that public policies must also take into account political, scientific, social,
environmental and other factors related to the internationalisation of research and technology.
The meetings were attended by Commission officers, who contributed information on EU
policies and programmes, as well as experts who made presentations on particular topics.
The contents of this report are the sole responsibility of the working group, whose views
do not necessarily reflect those of the Commission nor of the external commentators.
Purpose of the Report
This report considers the evidence of internationalisation of research and technology, reviews
the state of knowledge and important gaps in current understanding, and analyses the
implications for policy-making. The report identifies new opportunities and challenges arising
from internationalisation trends, and outlines possible policy measures to enhance the
attractiveness of Europe as a location for the development and exploitation of technology.
The report also identifies issues that need to be investigated further in order to provide a
sounder basis for the formulation of European innovation policy.
The Working Group found that the mechanisms and impacts of the internationalisation of
research and technology are only partially understood; public policies and firms' strategies are
involved in an exceedingly complex process and there are no simple or obvious solutions to
the challenges facing Europe. However, certain clear trends and features of
internationalisation indicate that there are important policy implications in five areas:
VI extra-European S&T cooperation and mobility;
European attractiveness to international players;
the absorptive capacity of Europe to assimilate and acquire internationally distributed
the development of a holistic policy approach; and
framework for global policy coordination and priority-setting.
VII Internationalisation of Research and Technology:
Trends, Issues and Implications for S&T Policies in Europe
1. Overview
The purpose of this report is to provide a careful review of existing knowledge on trends and
issues on internationalisation of research and technology, focusing on multinational
companies as important players in this process and to elaborate the main science and
technology policy implications. Due to the complexity and heterogeneity of the field the
report is necessarily selective and limited. Further research and analysis is needed on the
consequences of internationalisation processes of all kinds. Nevertheless, summing up our
analysis we can conclude the following:
(1) The internationalisation of research and technology is still characterised by
"Triadisation" involving the US, the European Union and Japan. Other countries
especially from South East Asia are getting slowly, yet increasingly, involved in this
process. European firms are highly internationalised in S&T, and interested in an
increase of international technology alliances and international generation of innovation
beyond intra-European cooperations.
(2) The motives of large companies to invest in R&D abroad are changing. A new paradigm
of transnational research and technology emerges, characterised by intense market and
technology interaction, with few centres of competence at different geographical
locations and interactive technology transfer.
(3) Intensification of global competition increases the importance of the role of regional
conditions. At the same time an increasing need for international solutions is necessary
in "global" problem fields. This affects the emerging and appropriate division of labour
in policy and strategy at the regional, national, European and international level.
On the basis of our analysis we draw the following main policy conclusions:
(1) Whereas intra-European S&T cooperation is still useful in many areas it has to be
complemented more and more by extra-European S&T collaboration and mobility.
Public R&D institutions and enterprises should be more explicitly supported in their path
towards internationalisation.
(2) The attractiveness of the European Union to foreign R&D investment and international
players has to be increased, not just from the science and technology side, but also from
the side of markets, regulations and public decision-making processes. Special attention
should be paid to the early identification of European-based lead markets based on
specific socio-economic needs and recognition of budding "Industrial Hollywoods".
(3) With the growth of new world-centres of technological activities, the economic and
social welfare of the European Union will increasingly depend on the ability of