Interregional Cooperation in the Framework Programme: A Gravity Model
The cohesion across European member states and regions has been constantly promoted by EU science policy. Research networks and collaborations have for long constituted one of the most important vehicles of EU research integration. The presence of EU research funding can influence the collaborative behaviour among member states and, potentially, the integration of Eastern European countries in the European Research Area. However, the efforts of the EU policy to increase the internationalisation of research go hand in hand with strong interactions at the regional level. We estimate the intensity of interregional cooperation of ICT R&D projects by means of a gravity model, examining the variables affecting the strength of bilateral collaborations between different EU regions (NUTS 2 level). The dataset includes 245 NUTS-2 regions and 1635 FP research projects in the domain of the ICT. We compute all the bilateral ties for the 245 regions and we use indicators for the interregional collaboration in research projects that are coherent with the principle of fractional counting. Using the information on the budget allocation of each project by partner/region, we can provide a better account of the strength of the relationship. Geographical distance between the two regions reduces the strength of cooperation, while the individual regions‘ involvement in research projects has a positive effect, as well as the ICT capabilities of the regions in terms of employee and patents in the ICT sector. Interestingly, cooperation between regions belonging to different tiers of EU member states (EU15 and EU27) is weak.
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