The influence of public programs on inter-firm R&D collaboration strategies: project-level evidence from EU FP5 and FP6
Inter-firms R&D collaborations are often seen as an effective mean to access new resources, to innovate and/or to enter new markets in a turbulent environment characterized by fierce competition. However, all R&D partnerships do not have the same strategic importance. We analyze the strategic features of two types of partnerships that are seldom compared in the academic literature on R&D alliances: EU-sponsored inter-firms collaborations on the one hand, and non-sponsored, spontaneous inter-firm collaborations on the other. We compare their incentives and coordination mechanisms, and derive theoretical propositions that we test empirically. Our econometric analysis uses original data on (sponsored and non-sponsored) projects conducted by participants in the 5th and 6th European R&D Framework Programs. Our empirical findings support our main propositions. EU-funded collaborations are more exploratory and more focused on peripheral competences than spontaneous R&D collaborations. They are also less flexible, due to rigid monitoring rules which are nevertheless crucial to the projects’ success. However, there is no major difference between the different types of EU-sponsored collaborations, which pleads for a simplification of these policy instruments. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012
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