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International cooperation in science, technology and innovation: strategies for a changing world. Report of the Expert Group established to support the further development of an EU international STI cooperation strategy



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Report of the Expert Group established to
support the further development of an EU
international STI cooperation strategy
International Cooperation in
Science, Technology and Innovation:
Strategies for a Changing World
EUR 25508 EN
Research and
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation
Unit D2 — North America, Latin America and Caribbean
Contact: Sigi GRUBER
European Commission
B-1049 Brussels
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation
International Cooperation
2012 EUR 25508 EN
International Cooperation
in Science, Technology and
Innovation: Strategies for
a Changing World
Report of the Expert Group established to support
the further development of an EU international STI
cooperation strategy
edited by:
Dr Sylvia Schwaag Serger (Expert Group Chairperson) and
Dr Svend Remoe (Expert Group Rapporteur)
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Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2012
ISBN 978-92-79-26411-5
doi 10.2777/18000
© European Union, 2012
Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.
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Table of contents
Composition of the International STI Cooperation Expert Group.............................................5
List of abbreviations ..................................................................................................................7
Executive summary....................................................................................................................9
Understanding international STI cooperation......................................................................17
The international dimension of ERA...................................................................................18
Integrate the external dimension of ERA.........................................................................19
A balance between cooperation and competition in a strategic framework ....................19
Internal and external dimension of ERA: Towards a symbiosis......................................20
Drivers of globalization of STI............................................................................................20
Internationalisation of R&D: characterizing the phenomenon........................................21
Drivers and barriers for the internationalisation of Science ............................................21
Drivers for the growing internationalization of R&D and innovations by firms.............22
Priority setting: Defining objectives and understanding roles.................................................24
Prioritize for themes and challenges....................................................................................24
Key objectives for international cooperation in STI........................................................24
Current practice in priority setting...................................................................................24
Negotiating priorities.......................................................................................................26
The Emergenc(y)e of Global Challenges in international STI Cooperation....................28
Prioritizing with instruments................................................................................................29
Policy levels and instruments...........................................................................................29
Principles and criteria for priority setting........................................................................34
Strengthening policies for industry and innovation.............................................................35
The need to differentiate between research performers...................................................35
Horizontal and vertical dimensions .................................................................................38
International R&D strategies of MNEs............................................................................39
An industry view on policy support.................................................................................40
Reducing transaction costs for SMEs..............................................................................41
Towards a strategic approach...............................................................................................43
Exploit variable geometry........................................................................................................45
Objectives for STI internationalisation policies ..................................................................45
EC-Member States Coordination for international STI cooperation...................................46
Recommendations for promoting partnerships....................................................................48
The need for an evidence- and analysis-based strategy...........................................................53
Promoting indicators and information.................................................................................53
The basic rationale...........................................................................................................53
Which indicators are needed? Functions and levels of indicators...................................54
Key indicators for a European internationalisation strategy................................................56
Information and data sharing...............................................................................................60
Basic principles................................................................................................................60
Data gathering and sharing for the indicators suggested.....................................................60
Information sharing to support the “policy cycle” in STI collaboration .............................61
Modalities and practices of information sharing .................................................................64
Conclusions and key policy recommendations........................................................................65
Annex 1: Mandate of the Expert Group (extract)....................................................................71
Annex 2: Dimensions of strategic priority setting...................................................................75
Annex 3: Trends, Drivers and Impact from Internationalisation of STI..................................77
Annex 4: INCO Expert Group Industry Workshop, Brussels 17 April 2012: Summary of
Issues Raised............................................................................................................................84
Annex 5: Outcomes of a survey on SMEs...............................................................................88
Composition of the International STI
Cooperation Expert Group
Executive Director International Strategy and Networks, VINNOVA, Stockholm,
Sweden, Senior Research Fellow, Research Policy Institute, University of Lund
2. Erik ARNOLD
Chairman, Technopolis Group / Professor of International Innovation, University of
Chief Rapporteur
3. Svend REMOE
Special Adviser, International R&D Policy, Research Council of Norway
Second rapporteur
4. Vandana UJJUAL
Research Fellow (SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research), University of
Sussex, UK
Programme Director, Applied Research and Communications Fund, Bulgaria
Secretary General, LERU
7. Jakob EDLER
Professor of Innovation Policy and Staretegy, Executive Director, Manchester
Institute of Innovation Research, MBS, University of Manchester
8. Lutz HEUSER
CTO, Urban Software Institute GmbH & Co.KG
9. Lorenz KAISER
Division Director for Legal Affairs and Contracts, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Munich
10. Rajneesh NARULA
Professor of International Business Regulation, University of Reading
11. Klaus SCHUCH
Strategic Research Manager and Senior Scientist at the Centre for Social Innovation
(ZSI), Vienna, Austria
12. Reinhilde VEUGELERS
Professor of Managerial Economics, Strategy and Innovation, Katholieke Universiteit
List of abbreviations
AC Countries Associated to the EU Framework Programmes
CIS Community Innovation Survey
CNRS National Centre for Scientific Research, France
CREST European Union Scientific and Technical Research Committee (since 26
May 2010 renamed into
ERAC European Research Area Committee)
DG R&I Directorate General Research and Innovation
EC European Commission
EEN Enterprise Europe Network
EFTA European Free Trade Association
EG Expert Group
EIRMA European Industrial Research Management Association
ERA European Research Area
ERAC European Research Area Committee
EU European Union
EUA European University Association
EUI European University Institute
FDI Foreign Direct Investments
FP Framework Programmes
FP7 Framework Programme 7
G20 The Group of Twenty.
“The Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors
(also known as the G-20, G20, and Group of Twenty) is a group of
finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 major economies:
19 countries plus the European Union, which is represented by the
President of the European Council and by the European Central Bank.[3]
The G-20 heads of government or heads of state have also periodically
conferred at summits since their initial meeting in 2008. Collectively, the
G-20 economies account for more than 80 percent of the gross world
product (GWP),[4] 80 percent of world trade (including EU intra-trade),
and two-thirds of the world population.[3] They furthermore account for
84.1 percent and 82.2 percent of the world's economic growth by nominal
GDP and GDP (PPP) respectively from the years 2010 to 2016,
according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”1
G8 The Group of Eight.
“The Group of Eight (G8) is a forum for the governments of eight of the
world's largest economies. … The forum originated with a 1975 summit
hosted by France that brought together representatives of six
governments: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and
the United States, thus leading to the name Group of Six or G6. The
summit became known as the Group of Seven or G7 the following year
with the addition of Canada. In 1997, Russia was added to group which
then became known as the G8.[1] The European Union is represented
within the G8 but cannot host or chair summits.[2]”2
GDP Gross Domestic Product
GPN Global Production Networks
GVCs Global Value Chains
H2020 Horizon 2020
HBA Home-base Augmenting
ICT Information and Communication Technologies
IISER Integrated Information System on European Researchers
INCO International Cooperation
IP Intellectual Property
IPR Intellectual Property Rights
IRSES International Research Staff Exchange Scheme
IT Information Technologies
JP Joint Programming
JPIs Joint Programming Initiatives
JRC IPTS Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
KET Key Enabling Technologies
MNEs Multinational Enterprises
MS Member States
OECD Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
PROs Public Research Organisations
PROTON ProTon Europe, the European Knowledge Transfer Association, created
in 2003 by the European Commission and self supporting since 2007
R&D Research and Development
RI Research Infrastructures
RTD Research and Technology Development
RTDI Research, Technology Development and Innovation
S&T Science and Technology
SFIC Strategic Forum for International S&T Cooperation
SMEs Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
SRA Strategic Research Agendas
STI Science, Technology and Innovation
UN United Nations
UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
WB World Bank
Executive summary
Changes in the international landscape require urgent policy action
Over the past few decades the international landscape has changed in ways that seem both
dramatic and contradictory. New players have emerged, notably emerging economies such as
China, Brazil, India, and South Africa. Smaller economies like Vietnam are to a greater
degree imitating the Chinese strategy of placing science, technology and innovation (STI) at
the centre of the economic development strategies, and raw materials based economies like
Australia are increasingly STI-driven. Although Europe, Japan and North America still
dominate aggregate STI investment globally, their shares are declining, and the international
landscape is increasingly multi-polar.
The current economic and budgetary crisis in many European countries are increasingly
resulting in a stagnation or even reduction of public spending on research, innovation and
education in Europe at the same time as it undermines Europe’s ability to attract global talent
and corporate STI investments. As a result, the EU as a region risks falling behind. Europe is
still attractive as an STI location due to its developed markets, advanced demand and high
science and technology capacity but there is increasing global competition for attracting
foreign R&D and talent. Overall, the changing global landscape both creates opportunities
and increases the need for strengthening internationalization, e.g. due to increasing R&D
costs and skills shortages, the emergence of new markets and persistent European and global
challenges. The rapid increase in research and innovation resources outside Europe combined
with Europe’s relatively weak linkages to emerging research and innovation hubs in Latin
America, Asia and Africa (and the Middle East), and the benefits offered by international
cooperation in science and technology, underline the urgent need for strategic policy action.
A more strategic EU as a global player in STI
The changing global landscape warrants a strategic European framework to tackle
international developments in a coherent and proactive fashion. This should involve the
Member States and Associated Countries in well-functioning partnerships with an efficient
division of labour to generate high impact against clearly stated objectives. It should also
involve key stakeholders to optimize the efficient pooling and allocation of resources and to
ensure that initiatives are relevant and anchored. Such a framework requires moving to a
genuinely European-level strategy based on the needs and goals of the EU as a whole to
strengthen Europe's attractiveness and competitiveness in research and innovation. Whereas
the recent strategy for international STI cooperation gave much attention to cooperation, a
new strategy should be based on collaboration and integration.
In their current forms, EU STI policies already have international dimensions, e.g. in
thematic programmes of the Framework Programme, but they are fragmented, driven by
diverse and sometimes conflicting objectives and lack of strategy, strategic intelligence and
effective instruments.
A strategic approach to internationalization and international cooperation should increase
coherence, define actions big enough to make a difference and have clear impacts at EU level
and beyond. They should direct EU resources towards initiatives that Member States cannot
initiate or effectively conduct alone. The European Commission and its resources, such as the
Framework Programme (FP), occupy a unique position, which should be used to shape
cooperation with other parts of the world, using Horizon 2020 as its instrument. The EU
should take on a more ambitious global role in STI and become a stronger and more coherent
international actor. A clear EU strategy will benefit European Member States, citizens and
companies and help the EU to more effectively tackle global challenges.
Perhaps most importantly, an effective strategy must combine 3 levels of measures, namely
initiatives for international cooperation that target strategically relevant areas or actors,
measures aimed at promoting the general opening of European projects and programmes to
international participation – for example through mobility-promoting activities – and
strengthening conducive framework and regulatory measures in order to reduce transaction
costs for international cooperation. An effective strategy, crucially, also requires a more
effective coordination of measures across relevant Directorate-Generals within the
Commission and between the Commission, Member States and stakeholders.
The strategy should focus on global challenges and thematic priorities
Thematic priorities can be defined bottom up by research and innovation performers or top
down with the aim of addressing politically defined objectives. In reality, priority-setting is
typically a mix of both and a key message from the EG is the need to allow for both bottom
up and top down. A strategic focus should be developed through a structured top-down
process, but without stifling interesting bottom up initiatives, in order to set priorities that are
legitimate and effective in allocating resources to clear goals. A successful process should
involve the research and innovation community and other stakeholders.
Thematic and geographic priority setting for the international collaboration strategy should be
based on an assessment of where
cooperation can increase the world’s ability to tackle global challenges
complementary scientific and innovative strengths lie outside the EU
there are important gaps in European competences
cooperation can increase access to global markets and infrastructures
Priorities for international cooperation should focus on actions that can gather large enough
resources and funding to attract interest from industry and high-capacity scientific groups.
Global challenges should therefore guide priorities in building large-scale, effective,
multilateral cooperation platforms. The EU should build on lessons from actions such as the
European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (between 14 MS, Switzerland
and Norway and Sub-Saharan countries), and the Human Frontier Science Programme (EU in
cooperation with 13 countries around the world). The EU could use existing co-operations
such as G8 or G20 to enable this.
Research and innovation infrastructure is an important building block for international
cooperation. The EU should give priority to ensuring mutual access, mutual benefits and co-
funding for research and innovation infrastructure needed to tackle global challenges. The
strategy should also recognize the importance of European research infrastructures for
European attractiveness in order to bring talent and investment to Europe.
The needed strategy should be based on thematic foci or global challenges, it should tackle
different parts of the world in different ways, and be selective about Europe’s choice of
preferred partners.
Addressing industry and innovation
Firms go international to access markets that may be faster growing or more dynamic than
mature European ones, search for skilled labour, participate in increasingly international
value chains, de-locate production, source knowledge and access raw materials, to name a
few reasons. These drivers generate sector- and firm-specific patterns of international
cooperation. In many cases, internationalising firms are moving beyond being ‘multinational’
in the sense of retaining strong ties to a ‘home’ country and becoming more ‘transnational’
with production, R&D and ownership spread across multiple countries. For many
multinational companies it is necessary to have both research and production outside Europe
in order to keep and expand activities in Europe. In many cases research activities outside
Europe can also be directly used in Europe.
A strategic approach to international cooperation that includes a focus on industry and
innovation needs to balance two aims: strengthening international R&D cooperation; and
promoting framework conditions that underpin a global ‘level playing-field’ in innovation.
Strengthening R&D cooperation involves ensuring that Europe is attractive as a region for
lead markets, pilots and demonstration, infrastructure for testing and technology verification,
and that Europe take a lead in technology platforms and standardisation through cooperation
with stakeholders, all with a view to reduce uncertainty for industrial innovation. These aims
in turn require that Europe stimulates mobility of researchers and students and access to talent
and research.
Ensuring a level playing field means that
The EU should lead projects aiming to set global standards and norms. This represents
an opportunity to take the initiative and have a decisive influence on market
The EU should lead key projects addressing some of the grand challenges, where a
global effort is beneficial for everyone. This is especially useful in ‘horizontal’ issues
where IPR is not a major concern
More broadly, EU international projects should have clear and transparent IPR and
exploitation rights. The EU should work towards more harmonised international rules
and practices in relation to IPR
The EU should ensure coherence with traditional trade and industry policy aspects
such as reduction of trade barriers and encouraging entry under fair conditions
The EU should develop a strong European voice to influence other international actors
on regulatory matters
Exploit variable geometry: Internal and external partnerships
A key element of any strategy is positioning. In the present context this means positioning
European actors relative to other competitors/partners globally. The European Commission
refers to this as geographical differentiation to help target actions with partners. The
Framework Programmes, including the proposed Horizon 2020, have developed groups of
countries to aid this targeting, including also principles for funding foreign partners (like
industrialised and emerging countries, neighbourhood and enlargement countries and
developing countries). In addition, there are contractual differentiations between countries:
There are, for example, 20 science and technology cooperation (S&T) agreements in
operation in 2011, and 14 association agreements to the Framework Programme.
The EG has the following recommendations:
The overarching perspective should be that international cooperation is integrated into
and across EU STI activities, in particular the coming H2020. The guiding principle
for priority setting should be horizontal and thematic rather than geographic, building
on the priorities of H2020. The strategy should help enhance the international
dimension of ERA through mutually reinforcing the benefits that ERA and
international cooperation may generate.
There is no great need to let the international cooperation be guided by an a priori
geographical differentiation. The FP/H2020 has general opening as its basic principle
for international cooperation, and this principle does not differentiate between groups
of countries. The only exception concerns funding, where in specific cases
participants from 3rd countries may be funded by the FP. Such differentiation should
be reduced to a funding rule. The Commission should give priority to developing a
mechanism that allows stakeholders from any country to participate in programmes
or consortia, provided that they add value to the consortia. The overall principle
should be to allow and encourage “the best and brightest” to participate in projects,
regardless of their geographic location. International cooperation should be clearly
driven by thematic considerations, but implemented by geographical ones. In
addition, a stronger encouragement and support in the various themes in the
Framework Programme is required to increase the level of participation from non-
European countries.
Contractual relations should be used more explicitly to gain a strategic grip on
international cooperation. S&T and association agreements to the Framework
Programmes define two important groups for EU/MS, the former a potential vehicle
to develop targeted actions with key partners including in multilateral structures, the
latter an arrangement for full participation in and co-funding of the FP. The EG
suggests a third modality: Focused or limited association agreements that allow 3rd
countries, individually or collectively, to connect to European initiatives. Such
agreements should be linked to ambitious, targeted actions of a multiannual nature to
allow strategic partnerships with a more reciprocal funding and mutual benefits, but
bearing in mind that stakeholders (e.g. industrial firms) themselves do not consider
such reciprocity as important to their actions. Such agreements may also be used to
allow partners from 3rd countries to participate in smaller schemes and project
consortia and hence support co-funding internationally.
A strategy for international cooperation should include an element of bottom up
selection. With this the EG means that bilateral programmes and initiatives that
Members States or the Commission have with 3rd countries, and that are assessed to
be successful or “good practice” should take the role as “lead initiatives” around
which other MS actions may be associated through mechanisms of mutual opening of
programmes, to establish clusters of cooperation based on variable geometry etc. This
means that concerted actions with significant synergies may develop without a top
down, a priori strategy (e.g. by the Commission). But the strategy should then include
platforms and agreed principles through which such clustering may effectively take
Horizontal actions coordinated by the Commission must be undertaken multilaterally
to establish common institutional settings to create a level playing field with global
partners. The Commission should take the lead and, with the MS/AC, create global
platforms for STI cooperation in areas that need a global, concerted effort to ensure
critical mass and impact.
The Commission should cooperate with the MS to reignite the Strategic Forum for
International STI Cooperation (SFIC) as a truly high-level and more effective
strategic body for collaboration among MS/AC and the European Commission, with
the aim to achieve an integrated, collaborative approach going beyond cooperation
and exchange of information and experiences.
Ensure policy is evidence based
Information and data analysis are indispensable to support the definition and implementation
of the strategy and the design of schemes and concrete action. Systematic data collection and
analysis must specifically support priority setting – as any strategic effort must make choices
– and the choice of partner countries and regions for each of the priority areas. It thus
underpins negotiations within the European research area (ERA) including the Framework
Programme, and with potential external partners and by doing so helps to create effective
partnerships. It will also develop a new focus on supporting international innovative
Four basic functions are relevant for jointly collecting data and producing indicators.
Understanding the status quo in terms of the EU’s STI profile and STI internationalisation
activities: this helps to define the needs as starting points for the strategy (competencies,
gaps, needs as seen by various actors within the EU)
Formulating targets, benchmarks to reach: this helps to define goals, to communicate the
purpose of international activities and to measure achievements later on (link to thematic
priorities of H2020)
Understand global bottlenecks (e.g. access to markets and infrastructure, legal obstacles
to cooperation etc.) and opportunities (STI profiles, “hot spots” abroad in light of a
rapidly changing global landscape): this helps to link the thematic priorities defined to
concrete choices in terms of scientific and technological fields and in terms of partner
countries/regions (country follows priority) and it enables effective negotiations with
Monitoring activities (at policy and actor level) and measuring the impact of international
activities on the overall goals of STI policy and strategy
Information sharing should be focused, based on the need to minimise duplication and
transaction costs for those involved and avoid costs related to generic, non-purpose
information sharing. The Commission has an important role to play in providing systems and
guidelines. There should be five activities.
Making national/Commission information on bilateral programmes and related
actions of international cooperation easily available, including evaluations and
assessments, on public web sites
Producing regular reports by science counsellors in countries outside Europe about
their STI policies, programmes and capacities
Creating common platforms for information sharing, i.e. include information
generation and sharing as integrated parts in the strategic research agendas
Sharing forward-looking information such as trends, market developments and other
strategic intelligence developed at national level
Exchanging experiences and good practice in governance of international cooperation
at national level.
Key recommendations
The main message coming from the Expert Group is that the EU urgently needs a
collaborative and integrated strategy for international cooperation in STI. With this in mind
several recommendations are launched:
1. The strategy should focus on promoting European attractiveness as an international
research and innovation hub and partner in order to strengthen European
competitiveness and prosperity
2. Theme- and problem-oriented prioritization is needed rather than geographic; Grand
Challenges as a clear prioritization tool should be mainstreamed also in the
international dimension. Prioritization of international collaboration should follow
closely the priorities of the EU’s core research and innovation programmes, while the
geographical approach should be the core of an implementation strategy
3. Make the Horizon 2020 truly open and attractive to the best and brightest in the world
allowing European actors to work with the best brains wherever they are
4. The international perspective needs to be more fully integrated into ’regular’
programmes at EU level
5. Variable geometry should be exploited to the full, with flexible arrangements (within
EU and with countries outside EU) including multilateral platforms for strategic
cooperation. Variable geometry initiatives should also build on lead initiatives by
individual Member States that expand their successful bilateral activities to several
European partners
6. A strong focus on firms and innovation is needed. This has not been properly
addressed before and it requires a new/different approach; there are fundamental
differences in drivers of international cooperation between academia and industry and
between research and innovation
7. Reinforce efforts to strengthen framework conditions for and removal of barriers to
international cooperation
8. Design targeted initiatives for strengthening cooperation in selected (prioritized)
areas: these can be multilateral, bilateral, and unilateral. The key criteria should be
achieving benefits for European stakeholders, effectively address global, grand
challenges, and support the Union’s external policies
9. All initiatives must be based on more evidence- or analysis-based decision-making,
including forward looking analysis to inform decision making about likely trends and
future changes and systematic exchange of experiences.
In the past decades, The European Union has made great strides in developing a European
research community. The successive Framework Programmes for RTD have been a key
contributing factor in this development, proving incentives and mechanisms for cross-border
cooperation in STI. In addition, several programmes and other initiatives have broadened the
scope of European cooperation, such as ERA-NETs, European Technology Platforms and
Joint Technology Initiatives. The next Framework Programme called Horizon 2020, signal an
even greater effort to leverage STI for European economic and social development in the
overall policy context of the Europe 2020 strategy.3
With the development of the European Research Area since 2000 a clearer focus on the need
for more synergy and effectiveness in European STI efforts has developed. One consequence
of this realization was the so-called ERA-initiatives aimed at speeding up the European STI
integration with concrete measures. Against the backdrop of the rapidly changing global
landscape, the international dimension has received more attention and resulted, among other
things, in a Strategic Forum for International STI cooperation (SFIC) aimed at improving
coordination among and between the Member States and the Commission in cooperation
activities with countries and regions outside Europe. This partnership was launched in 2008.
The policy context of Horizon 2020 pays increasing attention to the need for economic
growth, competitiveness and innovation. This is manifested by the Flagship initiative
“Innovation Union” which is driven by an imperative to integrate a better strategy for
innovation in the overall STI efforts in Europe. Further, the changing global STI landscape
and a greater focus on global challenges that require significant and concerted inputs from
research and innovation reinforced the importance of finding new and better ways for
international cooperation in STI as well as reaping the benefits from this cooperation.
Against this backdrop, the Commission set up an Expert Group on international science,
technology and innovation cooperation to provide advice for the further development of
international cooperation policy and the international dimension of ERA. The EG was
launched in parallel with the preparation of two important policy initiatives from the
Commission: A Communication on the ERA Framework and a Communication on a
European Strategy for international cooperation in STI to be published in the early summer
and early fall respectively. Hence, the mandate included giving input to these two
Communications as a 1st phase of the EG’s work4.
Two workshops were arranged during the course of the EG’s work. First, a stakeholder
workshop for the ERA Framework was conducted by the Commission on the 13th March to
which two of the EGs members were invited. In this workshop the international dimension of
3 COM(2010)2020 – Europe 2020 A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
4 See annex 1 for the mandate for the Expert Group.
ERA was discussed as part of the process of preparing the Communication on the ERA
Framework. Second, a dedicated workshop for the industry and innovation dimension of the
EG’s work was arranged on the 17th April, with several industrial representatives present.
This workshop provided useful contributions to the group’s work.
Since the SMEs were not presented at the industry workshop, and the EG considered the
SME input important to the group’s work, semi-structured interviews were carried as a
complementary activity out with 10 SMEs from the ICT industry in Germany, and 14 SMEs
from different industries in Bulgaria. The findings are reflected in the report and summarized
in annex 5.
Understanding international STI cooperation
A strategy for international cooperation relates to the broader process of internationalization
of STI which the EG defines on two levels:
1) Generation of knowledge and innovation:
All international cooperation and coordination, inward and outward investment,
inward and outward transfer of knowledge including inward and outward mobility,
international use and cost sharing of data and infrastructure;
by public and private researchers, public organisations, civil society, and private
2) Policy, frameworks and funding to support 1) above which involves activities and
measures such as cooperation, coordination, integration of policy and funding bodies
(including foundations) in various forms (between and across levels), regulatory issues,
removing barriers to internationalization.
International cooperation as such can be understood as all cooperative relationships between
STI performers in non-equity relationships. Hence, international cooperation is primarily
driven by “bottom up” priorities of individual researchers, research organisations or R&I
performing enterprises: STI cooperation includes informal and formal agreements that
involve exchanges of knowledge on a systematic basis between R&D actors that are
organisationally separate. A strategy for international cooperation for the EU will hence
include public policy priorities, actions and resources aimed at influencing international
cooperation in accordance with given objectives. The EU may enter into cooperative
agreements, typically bilateral STI agreements, which define the incentives and constraints
for the cooperation of R&D performers. National governments may also enter into
programme cooperation through for example Joint Programming in the ERA-case, or joint
bilateral programmes and calls for proposals.
It is useful to bear in mind the fact that policies and frameworks are often negotiated results
of cooperative processes between governmental actors or other public bodies. In addition,
frameworks for STI cooperation in this manner constitute a certain level of coordination
among Member States and associated countries and between these and the European
Commission that stretch from no coordination (competition) through information exchange
and other measures to integrated strategy as fully coordinated actions:
Integration: joint strategic approach/programme
Collaboration: Pooled programmes with merged management
Cooperation: Distributed but linked programmes, shared access, strategic
Co-ordination: Information exchange on distributed programmes
Competition: Overlapping programmes in competition
When assessing the options for the Commission and the Member States in promoting a
strategy for international cooperation, this context of public policy will be duly considered. It
will be a red thread throughout this report that there is a need to strive for moving upwards on
this scale to achieve a more collaborative and integrated strategy for international
The international dimension of ERA
The renewal of an EU strategy for international STI cooperation will take place in the context
of the emerging European Research Area. ERA was initiated in 2000, but redefined and re-
launched in 2007-2008 through five ERA initiatives, one of which was the external or
international dimension of ERA. Following the publication of the Commission
Communication “A Strategic Framework for International Science and Technology
Cooperation” in 2008, the European Strategic Forum for International S&T cooperation
(SFIC) was created with an overall aim to increase the coherence of the international S&T
activities of the MS and the EU. The SFIC is seen as a partnership where the Commission is
one of 28 partners, and where associated countries to the FP7 are observers. SFIC received
the following mandate by the Council:
“To facilitate the further development, implementation and monitoring of the
international dimension of ERA by the sharing of information and consultation
between the partners (Member States and the Commission) with a view to identifying
common priorities which could lead to coordinated or joint activities, and
coordinating activities and positions vis-à-vis third countries and within international
There are several critical aspects of ERA that the EG would like to stress are key to an EU
strategy for international STI cooperation, bearing in mind the broad objectives of ERAs
external dimension:
Strengthen the excellence and attractiveness of EU research and innovation;
Underpin EU economic and industrial competitiveness;
5 Council Conclusions 16763/08.
Enable EU and MS to tackle global challenges;
Support external policies
This section in the report highlights these aspects of the ERA as the major context for an
international strategy for international cooperation in STI.
Integrate the external dimension of ERA
The external dimension of ERA is important for its success. The speed of globalisation and
internationalisation of STI, as well as the importance of enhancing Europe as a region of
attractiveness to conduct STI underpins the urgency and importance for ERA’s external
dimension. Therefore, ERA’s external dimension cannot be an add-on, but should be
integrated as a horizontal priority across ERA.
The coming EU Framework Programme H2020 to be launched in 2014, will likely have
general opening as a basic principle. The EG wants to address two key issues in this context.
First, the H2020 should be a facilitator and driver in ERA’s external dimension, providing
momentum, direction and synergy, including appropriate links with ERA activities through
the “Grand Challenges” block of H2020. Second, the bilateral activities of MS should be
brought into the external dimension of ERA through frameworks for mutual opening and
joint programmes with 3rd countries/partners, also linked to grand challenges.
A balance between cooperation and competition in a strategic framework
The external dimension of ERA should be operationalized in a strategic framework that takes
EU level interests and synergies as a starting point. The framework should clarify in which
cases a joint or common strategy is warranted vis-á-vis looser forms of coordination such as
policy harmonization, consultation and information exchange. The EG sees the balance of
cooperation with competition among European partners as a key consideration. An ERA
strategic framework should ensure that those objectives and activities that require EU level
actions are in fact included, while MS or regional level objectives and activities are left to
MS/AC. These are competitive arenas that are key to the functioning of ERA, and underpin
the dynamism that MS/AC can bring to a concerted effort for cooperation with 3rd countries
or other global settings. Joint or coordinated action should be given priority in areas where
national contributions are too small to have impact or where critical mass on EU level is
needed, whereas competition and competitive arenas should be retained and stimulated
between research and innovation performers.
The external dimension of ERA will need to address how it can support and enhance the
competitiveness and improve opportunities for European industry and business in general.
For industry, appropriate framework conditions are more important than public cooperation
programmes in S&T. Cooperation with 3rd countries are key to establish platforms for
technological solutions, standards and market access. These issues will be thoroughly
discussed in the later section on industry and innovation.
Internal and external dimension of ERA: Towards a symbiosis
The ERA was originally launched with the aim to develop an internal market of research and
development in Europe, taking into account the fact that the Member States provided by far
most of the resources and other inputs for research. The ERA development has delivered a
plethora of new, experimental instruments with variable geometries, which have been widely
taken up by policy makers and funders, and it has introduced a range of new governance
mechanisms to establish better coordination between MS and the EU. This has overcome the
traditional two-level structure of funding in Europe (MS vs. FP) and led to more appropriate
and efficient funding and support mechanisms. However, the position of the Expert Group is
that there is a great urgency in moving from a strategy of coordination of disparate activities
to a more collaborative and integrated approach, thus making international cooperation truly
However, ERA is not quite yet the strong, open internal knowledge market with clear
governance structures it is intended to become. In addition, it has yet to establish a logical
and well-coordinated link between the external and the internal dimension. The opinion of the
EG is that there is a great need to develop ERA further as a European knowledge market in
order to achieve an external dimension with significant impact, both in terms of its effective
functioning and in terms of its attractiveness and competitiveness in the global production of
knowledge and innovation. The Strategic Forum for International STI Cooperation (SFIC)
has a great potential to be a driver of such a symbiotic development. However, SFIC has not
yet lived up to that potential.
The external dimension of ERA has two key dimensions: On one hand it cannot be successful
and effective unless ERA itself constitutes a viable and attractive entity for research and
development. Hence, it builds on the efficiency and effectiveness of ERA. On the other hand,
an effective external dimension of ERA will be highly beneficial for the further development
and completion of ERA, e.g. through providing effective channels for scientific and
technological talent that Europe needs to develop its overall competitiveness. An EU strategy
should therefore give considerable attention to convey this mutual relationship, and bring out
the importance of the external dimension for ERA as well as the need for a more mature ERA
to better reach impact and attraction globally.
Drivers of globalization of STI
R&D and science and technology more generally are some among many areas from culture to
markets that are becoming global. This reduces the influence of individual countries or blocs
such as the EU on developments both at home and abroad but also generates important
benefits through specialisation, trade and competition. The data show that R&D and science
and technology is still strongly focused on the ‘Triad’ countries overall. However, this pattern
is weakening fast, as especially the large emerging economies’ role in global science,
technology and production continues to increase. Given that changes in the location of R&D,
cooperation patterns and human capital production all have long lead times, EU research and
innovation policy needs to anticipate a future where knowledge production and use – industry
as in science – is increasingly multipolar and globally networked.
Internationalisation of R&D: characterizing the phenomenon
The internationalisation of Science, Technology and Innovation materializes through a wide
variety of complex processes, ranging from:
The internationalisation of Science and Technology Development at public or
private research institutes or universities: through the international mobility of
S&T students and researchers; the international collaboration among S&T
researchers (as witnessed by joint publications or joint projects)
The internationalisation of Technology Development and Innovation by firms who
develop R&D activities internationally, simultaneously home and abroad. The
R&D done at home uses inputs from abroad, through the recruiting of foreign
S&T employees; building on existing knowledge located abroad. The R&D done
abroad enables use of locally available S&T human resources sourcing of locally
available know-how. Even if R&D is concentrated in the home country and uses
only home country resources, firms are exploiting their innovations on world
markets, through licensing their technologies abroad or selling their innovations
on foreign markets
International collaboration in S&T, where partners (firms and research institutes)
from more than one country jointly research and develop technological know-how
and innovations
The STI internationalisation processes thus include on the input side the international
mobility of human capital (S&T employees and researchers) as well as the international
mobility of physical and financial capital with R&D facilities and funds controlled from
abroad. On the output side, the internationalisation process includes the international mobility
of knowledge and technology and the international production and sale of new products and
Drivers and barriers for the internationalisation of Science
The on-going globalization and internationalization of STI is affected by a number of drivers
and barriers. These are different for industry and innovation compared with general science.
Several factors drive the increasing globalisation of science:
The globalisation of the world economy drives firms to increasingly access scientific
sources outside their local boundaries.
Students and researchers are increasingly mobile. As a consequence, scientific
institutions and firms are ever more competing for talent in a global labour market.
6 Please see annex 3 for a broader discussion, and Veugelers (2010) Bruegel Policy Contribution and the
references cited therein.
The ICT and the Internet revolution have reduced the cost of international
communication and boosted international exchange in science. These trends are
amplified by the growth in transport systems and reductions in real transport costs of
the last few decades.
ICT and internet have also fostered new ways of gathering knowledge, leading to
innovative international knowledge transfer models in the fields of fundamental
research. Examples such as the Milky Way Project or the Artigo Project build up
databases with tremendous scientific gain.7
The research agenda is increasingly being made up of issues that have a global
dimension, such as climate change, energy, safety, pandemics.
Policy makers are increasingly focusing attention on international S&T cooperation
and funding programmes to stimulate internationalisation of higher education and
research. This includes many governments from emerging economies, who have come
to view Science and Technology (S&T) as integral to economic growth and
development. To that end, they have taken steps to develop their S&T infrastructures
and expand their higher education systems. This has brought a great expansion of the
world’s S&T activities and a shift toward developing Asia, where most of the rapid
growth has occurred.
Costs of and access to infrastructure lead to stronger incentives to cooperate and share
resources across boundaries.
Increased specialisation of knowledge production globally makes excellence being
located more diversely and makes it vital to seek advanced knowledge where it is.
Scientific knowledge is produced with greater ”speed” and impact, creating incentives
to avoid duplication.
Nevertheless, also within science there are still forces counterbalancing the globalisation,
such as the resilience of the national dimension in education, science and technology policy
and public funding, proximity effects in the exchanges of tacit knowledge requiring face-to-
face interactions; cultural and language barriers, and the inertia of personal and institutional
networks (Kaiser, et al. 2011).
Drivers for the growing internationalization of R&D and innovations by firms
A number of changes in the competitive, international and technological environment have
driven the increased R&D internationalization of multinational firms and the increasing
importance of asset-seeking foreign R&D.
Technological and scientific expertise has become more widely distributed in the
In addition, in countries such as China, rapid increases in R&D are combined with
rapid growth in markets and income, making it much more attractive for foreign
investors for in particular adaptive R&D.
7 See the websites of the projects: and
Developing economies with strong governments increasingly require local R&D
activity as a quid pro quo for allowing foreign participation in local markets (a
practice ranging from the earlier requirement for oil concessionaires to do or fund
R&D in Norway to the demands of China for a local R&D component in aircraft
production consortia)
Many nations have improved their infrastructure and business climate for foreign
firms to conduct R&D.
Based on international treaties like the TRIPS agreement, patent right systems have
significantly improved in some countries, primarily less-developed countries that
historically had weak patent systems, like China and India8. Nevertheless, the risk of
patent infringement is still high in the international level, especially in the IT business
(Kaiser 2010).
Developments in the codification and standardization of R&D processes have
increased the possibilities to segment R&D activities over different locations.
Advances in information and communication technologies have further facilitated the
management of globally distributed research and development activities.
More generally, the emergence of global supply chains and increased specialisation
lead to a wider distribution of R&D activity. Companies must move new products
from development to market at an even more rapid pace. Consequently, firms build
R&D networks that allow them to access geographically distributed technical and
scientific expertise at lower costs.
Products such as aircraft and large pieces of infrastructure increasingly have the
properties of ‘large technical systems’, necessitating multi-national and multi-
company cooperation. Airbus is an obvious example, as are the consortia that build
aircraft engines. In the automotive industry there has been a long process of having
first- and second-tier suppliers themselves design sub-systems and components, so
that the vehicle assembler acts as a systems integrator rather than designing all the
parts of the vehicle
More generally, while the idea of ‘open innovation’ is much hyped, it does reflect not
only the realities just described but also the growing proportion of business R&D
done extramurally in contract research organisations, the higher education and
research institute sectors, and R&D partnerships among companies
User-driven innovation also relies on more use of external collaborators – as in the
well-known role of airline cabin staff in the development of the 777 interior by
Driven by the needs and opportunities in emerging markets, ‘frugal’ innovation is
changing the way engineering and production are done in some cases. Tata’s small,
low-cost car (a sort of ‘Volkswagen’ for India) is one of the best-known examples.
8 New patent regulations are also considered as barriers for international business. See Kaiser et al 2011, p. 19-
Priority setting: Defining objectives and
understanding roles
Prioritize for themes and challenges
Key objectives for international cooperation in STI
Priority setting lies at the heart of any strategic approach to international STI cooperation.
The overarching objectives for international cooperation of the Union will be the reference
point for priority setting:
Strengthening the Union’s excellence and attractiveness in research and innovation as
well as its economic and industrial competitiveness;
Tackling global societal challenges;
Supporting the Union’s external policies.
While priority setting normally is seen as a process taking place in a given institution e.g.
through providing criteria and rules for allocation of funds, the EU level priority setting is
different. Not only can the Commission itself be seen as a multi-actor institution in which
priority setting needs to take place through negotiations, the Commission also needs to add
two levels of negotiations to achieve sustainable priorities for STI: First this concerns the MS
(and AS), in particular through the SFIC partnership, and second, it concerns third countries
as external partners in cooperative efforts.
This complex negotiation process can then be classified according to drivers such as user
needs, institutional or political concerns, but more importantly in this context is the
differentiation between scientific vs. social or broader political, economic and societal goals,
and include thematic and/or structural priorities (OECD 2012). With the above overarching
objectives in mind, priority setting as the EG sees it, needs to be understood as negotiating
processes including many stakeholders at various levels that delivers outcomes with
significant added value to the aggregate STI efforts. Priority setting concerns allocating
resources (sometimes with partners) towards certain goals formulated as targets related to the
stated objectives to influence actions of research performers. For the EG, this implies that the
priority setting should be thematic/mission/challenge oriented, rather than geographical
which has been the preferred approach for e.g. SFIC up until now.
Current practice in priority setting
The EU’s activities in international cooperation in STI have been channelled through the
research Framework Programmes. The current situation has several key characteristics:
International cooperation is mainstreamed across all thematic areas in FP7, with each
thematic programme responsible for priorities being set.
The general opening principle applies to any research performing entity in the world,
implying that priority setting follows the priorities laid down in the calls from the
thematic programmes.
Cooperation with third countries is based on a differentiation across key partner
groups, in H2020 the proposal is now in three groups: Industrialised and emerging
economies, EU enlargement and neighbourhood countries and EFTA, and developing
Targeted actions and joint calls vis a vis third countries and regions on specific topics
have grown to enhance the strategic impact of international cooperation.
The INCO activity in the FP7 Capacities programme has supported policy dialogues
and coordination of international cooperation among the MS and AC.
Four principles are currently being developed for H2020 on the basis of FP7:9
Openness: This is operationalized through the principle of general opening of the
Framework Programme, implying that anyone can participate in projects in this
programme, when complying with universal eligibility criteria (but with restrictions
on funding for participants from industrialised or high GDP countries);
Effectiveness through enhanced scale and scope, as well as foreseen joint
programming with Member States, raising the issue of partnerships and opportunities
and obstacles in promoting such partnerships;
Partnerships with 3rd country(ies) to reach win-win situations through common
interests and mutual benefits;
Synergies with other internal/external policies and programmes.
The criteria for success in this respect have mostly been measured in terms of share of
international participations in the FP, in FP7 this is currently 6-7%. This is often seen as too
low, however without a proper benchmark by which to qualify which level is too low or
satisfactory. Further, there is little by way of assessing impacts of international cooperation,
this is normally understood as necessary and useful. The EG agrees with this general view,
seeing ERA and international cooperation in a symbiotic relationship in which ERA benefits
hugely from global influences and effective international cooperation is highly dependent on
an effective ERA.
The main message, crudely speaking, is that although there are strategic elements of the
international cooperation activities, they are still rudimentary, and much is left to partially
bottom-up priorities facilitated through the principle of general opening, combined with an
inbuilt drive towards geographical prioritization. The EU has a large number of S&T
agreements signed ad hoc (20 today), there is a great number of small coordinated calls for
proposals with foreign partners, with generally low levels of scale, scope and probably
9 Presentation to the Expert Group by the Commission 27 April 2012.
The current situation seems to reveal at least four main problems that need to be rectified in a
new strategic approach, bearing in mind that international cooperation policy will need to be
formulated to achieve goals of science, industry and foreign policy as well as goals related to
global challenges:
a) The key issue of competitiveness is not properly addressed. This means that in
practice the priorities in international cooperation are too weakly linked to the
objective of strengthening the competitiveness of European industry, and innovation
is not sufficiently integrated in the priorities. International cooperation remains mostly
a public to public cooperative relationship. The need for a new focus on industry and
innovation is addressed later in this chapter.
b) There is too little focus on the needs of the scientific community and how it can
exploit international cooperation to enhance excellence of the European system.
Rather, international cooperation follows an implicit priority of extending globally to
as many countries as possible for some (marginal) participation in the FP. The
implication is to give more priority to cooperation with countries with STI strengths.
c) The fundamental principle of general opening of the FP seems to forego strategic
orientation. Much of the FPs resources (funding and DG R&I personnel) is focused on
managing this broad, all-covering interface, which hence also indirectly seems to
reduce the opportunities for effective, targeted partnerships with Member States.
d) Too little flexibility in the allocation of funds for strategic, targeted opportunities
reduces the potential impact of international cooperation.
Negotiating priorities
The Strategic Forum for International S&T Cooperation (SFIC) represents an EU level
partnership mandated to enhance the overall strategic dimension of priority setting. Its main
approach has been to select pilot countries as geographical priorities and then developed
cooperative research and innovation agendas. In the case of India, this started with a more
incidental focus on water related research which was later expanded to comprise a broad
cooperative agenda. In the case of China, a strategic approach was launched from the
beginning, building up a strategic learning process, with the intermediary result of a set of
recommendations for priorities via a vis China that were transmitted to the Commission and
the Council in line with SFICs role as an advisory body.
The priority setting process can briefly be described as complex negotiation processes:
The thematically based priority setting takes place in the context of the thematic
committees in the FP7, and expands to include other services in the research “family”
of FP7, as well as beyond to DGs or policy areas at EU level that research and
international cooperation are supposed to serve;
The INCO programme committee is in line with the above as negotiating platform.
SFIC as a strategic forum serves as a base for negotiating among the partnership,
including the Commission. The priority has been towards geographical selection. An
inherent imperative has been the coordination of national, bilateral activities vis a vis
third countries, while these have also been cast in nationally grounded priority setting
Regular negotiation takes place with key international partner countries of the FP7 in
the context of various agreements such as international cooperation agreements where
priority setting is normally on the agenda.
The need to link priorities from “bottom up” (the research performing community)
with “top down” (from the policy making community) is typically underdeveloped.
Better mechanisms for stakeholder involvement and communication of priorities are
among key elements to develop this link into a viable negotiation and exchange
system. An example may be that research actors define international partnerships and
then can apply and negotiate for support in a competitive allocation process.
From this simplified picture one can deduce that a coherent international cooperation strategy
is hardly feasible. The transaction costs involved are high and the sum of compromises great.
To better achieve a strategic approach for international cooperation in STI, it might be
necessary to reduce the scope and scale of the negotiation system, taking into account the
following levels of priority-based rationales for international cooperation:
1) National priorities limited to available national resources and capacities: No
international cooperation;
2) Regional, neighbour (e.g. defined through the European Neighbourhood Policy) based
focus on cooperation based on priorities that can be met with such limited
3) Bilateral cooperation based on priorities linked to specific objectives in the national
policy making system, such as market growth in China or aid in developing
4) European cooperation in areas of greater European concern and where the issues at
stake warrant pooling of resources at this level;
5) Global or multilateral cooperation to meet global or large scale challenges with
matched resources.
A general approach to priority setting that will enhance strategic direction, create momentum
and synergies and reduce transaction and negotiation costs would be to exploit the
Framework Programme’s (soon H2020) weight and position to leverage multilateral
cooperation with thematically oriented priorities towards challenges while ensuring the
attractiveness of ERA for investment in R&D and innovation. Key principles should be
impact and value added
effective internal and external variable geometry
synergy and incentives
thematic targeting towards global challenges
framework conditions for industrial involvement for innovation
mutual benefit
The Emergenc(y)e of Global Challenges in international STI Cooperation
With increasing material welfare, rising levels of consumption, based on accelerating
globalising exchange relations, also global challenges multiply and gain importance rather
than being solved in the short-term. Examples for global challenges are manifold, such as
security and sustainability of energy and food supply, the threat of (re-)emerging infections
diseases, climate change and the loss of biodiversity, chaotic mass migration phenomena, or
the complexity of global financial systems moving out of the control of democratic
legitimisation and regulation. What makes many global challenges even more difficult to
trace is that they are interlinked across regions and disciplines. In addition, effects of global
challenges are unequally distributed and are sometimes impacting those later who bear the
larger part of responsibility for their generation or acceleration.
Science, technology and innovation (STI) can play a central role in understanding the
interaction of the relevant environmental, technological and social factors of global
challenges, in assessing risks and the possible unintended negative consequences of
strategies, and – of course – in developing solutions (Stamm, Figueroa and Scordato 2012).
The organisation of STI today, which is pre-dominantly embedded in national and sometimes
local frameworks, rationales and policies, has to be scaled up in its international dimension
and broadened in scope. The international cooperation strategy of the EU should include
policies, actions and instruments to help STI create impacts on global challenges at an
international scale.
Global challenges do not stop at national borders but affect a wide range of actors, calling for
increased cross-border and international cooperation to address them and for building STI
capacity at both national and international levels. Usually single governments cannot ensure
effective solutions and policy makers have clear legitimisation disincentives to spend
available R&D funding on multilateral undertakings. To lower individual risks for national
decision makers and programme implementers internationally co-ordinated action and
collaboration are required based on a clear political will (OECD 2012).
Strong European engagement in the international STI arena will not only benefit the
protection of public goods which naturally also benefit European citizens (e.g. the problem of
over-fishing), but also the European economy through the boosting of environmentally
friendly technologies, products, processes and services on world markets and green job
development. However, “frugal innovation” that provide innovative goods and services at
low cost to address global challenges that affect the poor (OECD 2011) can also be voiced. If
adequate answers to global challenges are to be found, scientific input is also required from
countries with limited availability of research infrastructures, human resources and financial
means to support STI throughout the innovation cycle from agenda setting to the deployment
of new solutions (Stamm, Figueroa and Scordato 2012). Thus, international STI cooperation
also has to consider research for development (by applying recognised standards of
excellence and relevance) and STI capacity building in developing countries. While hands-on
S&T capacity building should be increasingly considered in, and financed through, European
and Member States official development assistance programmes (to create necessary
absorption capacities), strategic agenda setting and STI policy support (especially oriented
towards global challenges and frugal innovation), as well as excellence based research for
development should become an integral part of the EU’s international STI policy and
embedded in international oriented Horizon2020 activities.
It must be made clear that the use of STI for addressing global challenges cannot be reduced
to a simple “technology fix”. Any strategy for using STI to address global challenges must
also address potential unintended negative effects, since many of today’s global challenges
are partly effects of the use of new technologies and innovations. This calls for an integration
of ecological and social sciences and technology assessment approaches in technology
development projects and for an enlightened STI policy dialogue with international partners.
Prioritizing with instruments
Policy levels and instruments
As shown in Fig. 1 basically three aggregate levels of intervention to support STI
internationalisation can be differentiated. The most basic level concerns a comprehensive
framework to forward techno-globalisation and international STI cooperation in general. It is
rooted in international alignments and agreements as well as regulatory measures aiming to
create comparable and fair conditions for international exchanges and transactions in the field
of science, technology and innovation. Examples are frameworks for technological standards,
common IPR and their enforcement, anti-plagiarism regulations, reciprocal access conditions
(e.g. for public procurement) etc. If once settled, these measures contribute to a reduction of
transaction costs (e.g. search costs, legal costs, communication costs, adaptation costs etc.).
The addressed policy levels are manifold including competition policy, labour market policy,
and economic policy. They go beyond the sphere of narrow R&D policy and can be
subsumed under science diplomacy in the broad sense. Today’s science diplomacy, however,
is in many regards not ready to oversee the complexity and shape inclusive frameworks for
international STI cooperation. A close cooperation with and across other policy fields is
The second level to foster international STI cooperation emphasises general opening
measures. These include the participation and possibly funding of foreign researchers (and/or
research organisations and/or companies) in national programmes, the portability of grants
across borders (in- and outward), facilitation of mobility of researchers and students and
especially also the opening of labour markets for foreign researchers. The latter also has to
take into account adequate models concerning the attribution of social security payments and
guarantees (e.g. contribution to pension system). Evidently, different policy areas are
addressed on this level too. The overall aim of this aggregate level is to facilitate and
mainstream quasi-automatic bottom-up cooperation of researchers across borders.
Fig. 1: Intervention levels for international STI cooperation
Targeted STI internationalisation interventions, finally, constitute the third level for
international STI cooperation. They are often based on bilateral and multilateral agreements
and often executed via joint or coordinated calls for proposals addressing more or less
narrowly defined S&T fields. Such targeted interventions are not necessarily the ‘summit’ of
international cooperation suggesting that they are only implemented if the “lower” two
aggregate levels of international STI cooperation are fulfilled or are not adequate to fulfil
overarching objectives: targeted interventions may be deployed because the two other levels
are not working properly. In this sense, targeted interventions can be developed as pockets for
enabling international STI cooperation (where otherwise it would not work ‘automatically’)
AND as experiments to test whether or not more far-reaching steps for international STI
cooperation can subsequently be approached (scale-up and/or roll-out). Moreover, it is
important to complement the rationale and routines of bottom-up cooperation by other
rationales stemming from other “arenas”, which would otherwise not be adequately (e.g.
early enough) addressed. Examples for mission-oriented interventions from other “arenas”
are for instance the initiation of international research cooperation to address global
challenges or to establish first-mover advantages with countries or regions with whom – due
to political, economic or cultural reasons – bottom-up STI cooperation has been traditionally
less developed.
The EG considers all three intervention levels as important for further EU engagement.
Particularly it recommends to DG Research and Innovation
a closer interaction and cooperation with other DGs to improve the framework
conditions for international STI cooperation and to promote more strongly the
intrinsic objectives of science and research as well as international academic values at
different multilateral policy fora;
a retention of the general opening up approach of FP7 in H2020;
an extension of targeted international STI cooperation measures based on matching
funds, reciprocity and variable geometry with major economically potent cooperation
partner countries;
a close division of labour with the EU’s External Action Service and development aid
actions to unilaterally further support S&T capacity development and excellence-
based research for development to address global and regional challenges.
Table 1 sums up some of the arguments described above by attaching to each of the three
aggregate intervention levels of international STI cooperation, which are basically identified
in fig. 1, the major driving rationale (the why?), the major operational instruments for their
implementation (the how?) and the actors responsible for their realisation (the who?). In
addition, table 1 highlights in the bottom-row the role of international STI policy (i.e. science
diplomacy), which influences all other levels of international STI cooperation. Also at this
generic horizontal level, the main rationales, common available instruments and main
responsible actors are shown. The EU as global player has to be in the position to make offers
to all regions of this planet and to provide – at least – policy dialogue fora (by including the
Member States on variable geometry) and to stimulate good practice exchange and learning
exercises by employing a variety of methods.
A major rationale of international STI policy cooperation is to conduct and support priority
setting towards joint objectives. Fig. 2 shows the different arenas, where priority setting
towards international STI cooperation is currently taken place in the EU. It shows a complex
picture. The following arenas influencing priority-setting can be distinguished:
intelligence measures to support priority setting (e.g. benchmarking);
stakeholder consultation and buy-in;
priority setting stipulated by overarching European STI policy (e.g. priorities of
priority-setting negotiated within bilateral S&T agreements (of the EC but also of
single Member States with a number of third countries), which are often implemented
by matching fund based instruments such as joint or coordinated calls;
priority-setting across several Member States exercised by SFIC (the Strategic Forum
for International S&T Cooperation);
a number of policy support projects which facilitate international policy dialogue and
which lead to priority-setting in certain problem areas;
a number of multilateral funding initiatives and projects, which – although sometimes
geographical by initial orientation – focus on certain thematic priorities when it comes
to specific research funding agreements respectively calls for proposals.
Tab. 1: Levels of international RTDI cooperation differentiated by main rationales, instruments
and responsible actors
Levels Why?
Main S&T objective How?
Main instruments Who?
Targeted intl.
Cooperation to address global
Addressing other joint thematic
priorities (win-win)
Regional priority rationales (e.g.
Neighbourhood policy,
Joint calls
Co-ordinated calls
Joint centers (virtual or
Research councils
Innovation agencies
’open’ intl. R&D
Increasing research quality and
fostering excellence
’technology for market’ research
Gaining resources (know-how,
brains, funding, students,
technologies ...)
Opening up national
funding programmes to
intl. participation
(’general opening’)
General funding intl
research cooperation
(e.g. top-up funding for
additional costs)
Promoting mobility
Ministries (not only
Research councils
Research institutes
General measures
to reduce
transaction costs
Promote globalisation
Fostering market access and
Strengthening attractiveness for
investment and human capital
Demonstrators, test sites
IPR protection
Consortia building
Business advisory
services (e.g. IPR
helpdesk in China)
Removing mobility
Ministries (not only
Research councils
Trade and
promotion agencies
Innovation and
Patenting offices
International S&T-
Policy Cooperation
(across the other
mentioned above)
Support science diplomacy
(broad extension)
Support priority setting towards
joint objectives
Preparing and supporting joint
activities (e.g. cost and risk
reduction concerning large
scale RI; joint funding; joint
Support STI policy learning
Policy dialogue fora
Good practice exchange
and learning exercises
Intl. S&T policy mix peer
reviews &
Joint ”intelligence”
Policy support projects
Ministries (not only
Research councils
and innovation
STI policy support
Fig. 2: Measures and instruments for priority setting in international cooperation
Fig. 3: A Dynamic policy framework
Fig. 3 illustrates a more dynamic view in which the measures and instruments are
interconnected, and priorities are linked clearly to EU policies and objectives. Key support
activities such as bottom-up stakeholders’ consulation and buy-in as well as intelligence
based on indicators and information are necessary conditions for a well-functioning policy
and strategy framework.
In order to capitalise synergies between the different approaches and to avoid redundancies
and contradictions, the EG recommends
to maintain and advance a high level of evidence-based policy making;
o by requesting and supporting strategic intelligence activities in its policy-
support projects;
o by establishing a comprehensive and user-friendly knowledge-management
system which can be accessed by all European STI stakeholders ;
o by promoting the development and use of relevant STI internationalisation
indicators which grasp the objectives of STI internationalisation policy; and,
o by promoting standardised approaches of data recording across its Member
to increase together with the Member States the level of stakeholder consultation and
buy-in across all thematic areas;
to strongly support the priority-setting stipulated by H2020 as well as relevant
international commitments;
to increase the binding character, reciprocity, transparency and operational value of its
bilateral S&T agreements;
to foster the cooperation with SFIC by providing to SFIC adequate resources and by
including SFIC in the consultation for preparing calls for policy support projects;
to strengthen policy support projects through better priority-based guidance by
concurrently maintaining a certain degree of freedom to test new cooperation
approaches and to respond to urgent needs of international cooperation partners
(especially those with whom the EC does not have a bilateral S&T agreement);
to further fund the coordination of international ERA-NETs according to the priorities
of H2020 and to co-fund research under ERA-NET PLUS by promoting the
application of harmonised participation and funding rules (simplification).
Principles and criteria for priority setting
The above discussion leads to a revised set of principles with criteria that should create
concrete guidance for priority setting through operational implications, bearing in mind the
three overarching objectives referred to earlier:
1) Thematically driven priorities: The strategic approach is best served through a
thematic rather than geographic priority setting. Addressing global challenges or
emerging scientific or technological areas through cooperation in STI should lead
to negotiating structures of internal and external variable geometry of partner
countries for implementation, in the case of global challenges preferably through
multilateral platforms.
2) Adding value to excellence and competitiveness: International cooperation should
give clear benefits to scientific excellence and overall competitiveness in Europe,
and lead to a significantly more attractive Europe for both STI and investments.
The implication is that international cooperation, guided by thematic priorities,
should concentrate on countries and regions with clear excellence, such as US and
other industrialised countries, pockets of excellence in countries that are otherwise
not broadly excellent, countries and regions with market growth to ensure
synergies with the strategic interests of the business community, and sectors and
countries with high levels of frugal innovation.
3) General opening: This is the basic, strategic principle of the Frameworks
Programmes, and the EG supports this as the key vehicle by which European
research performers can cooperate with those partners globally that they see
beneficial and necessary for their research.
4) Flexibility: A key principle of a new strategy needs to be the ability to allocate
significant resources to emerging opportunities, e.g. larger targeted actions.
5) A knowledge based policy: A more focused strategy along the principles above
needs to be built on a solid knowledge and evidence base. Intelligence and
analytical efforts need to underpin the priority setting process more than is the
case today. This concerns not least forward-looking intelligence to improve the
effectiveness of the priority setting process.
6) Improved coordination with (i) other EU policies and programmes (Development
and Cooperation, Regional Policy), (ii) international organizations (such as UN
and WB) and (iii) international research agencies.
7) Research infrastructures need to be an integral part of the EU Strategy for
International Cooperation in STI. RI need to be in the focus of the future
negotiations and agreements on international STI collaboration.
Strengthening policies for industry and innovation10
The need to differentiate between research performers
In improving the competitiveness and level of scientific excellence of the EU STI
community, it is important to distinguish between three primary sets of actors – firms, non-
profit research organisations (PROs) and universities. Each of these three actors have
different sets of motives, priorities and objectives when engaging in STI cooperation, and
therefore require an explicitly nuanced approach to priority setting and instruments.
Universities, for instance, tend to engage in more ‘science’ based activities (see figure 4), and
are often engaged in a broader range of disciplines and technologies than PROs which tend to
be focused on specific subject areas. PROs may often be dedicated to specific industries, and
while they may engage in basic research (depending upon the maturity of the dominant
10 Former work by expert groups on international cooperation in STI has not covered industry and innovation in
any comprehensive way. Hence, this report seeks to give a dedicated treatment to this, not least due to the
increasing weight given to innovation in European STI policy.
technological paradigm within their sector11), their activities have a substantially greater
applied research component than universities. While large firms may engage in basic
research, the majority of such firms, and almost all SMEs, tend to engage in applied research
and development activities.
Universities and PROs, by and large, are also much more location-bound than firms, with
very limited opportunities for internationalisation of R&D activities, except through
collaboration. As such, STI cooperation between PROs and universities in different countries
is a well-established activity, with reasonably well-established protocols governing this
activity and its output. Since – by and large – universities and a good proportion of PROs are
state-subsidised or state-controlled as part of national public goods, these international STI
collaborations are influenced by bilateral and multilateral inter-governmental agreements,
unlike most STI collaborations by firms.
More importantly, there are long-established formal and informal institutions (rules) that
determine the way in which inter-university STI collaboration is undertaken, with or without
bilateral or multilateral agreements. Universities differ from PROs and firms also because of
the longer-term horizon of their research, and as such, agreements, property rights and their
scientific output can be negotiated with greater deliberation.
Universities and PROs are location-bound and form the ‘core’ of national innovation
systems. Since they provide crucial inputs to PROs and firms (scientific knowledge and
specialised human resources) that cannot be acquired from a distance, firms that require these
inputs must seek to locate close to them, creating important knowledge clusters. This is
especially important in new and emerging sectors, because knowledge transfer in tacit areas
requires physical proximity (Criscuolo and Verspagen 2008).
However, whether firm, PRO or university, leadership in one scientific or technological sub-
discipline/area does not imply leadership in other related fields. Although there may be
several actors at or close to the frontier, leadership is rarely static amongst the peer group.
Hence, universities, firms and PROs do not regard STI cooperation as a sign of weakness.
Cooperation is a necessary means to keep abreast of their relative leadership within the peer
group, as much as it is to develop work jointly (Narula and Santangelo 2009). That the peer
group is widely distributed across several countries requires such cooperation also to be
international (Narula 2003). This is one of the reasons why “clustering” has become a
strategic instrument for R&D&I. Clusters themselves are a means for international
cooperation as they are often represented by cluster management organizations which focus
on strengthening the international reach of the cluster and connecting it with clusters in other
parts of the world.
11 For example, a PRO focused on the wood and pulp sector will engage in very limited basic research,
compared with a PRO dedicated to the biotechnology industry.
Fig. 4 Long and medium term priorities (and possible instruments
R&D cooperation is not an alternative to in-house R&D, but complementary to it12. R&D
cooperation (which includes outsourcing) does not replace the need for firms and PROs to
undertake internal R&D activities, but it enhances it. This is because: 1) there are cognitive
limits to the resources available to any given firm or PRO; 2) the costs of acquiring a world-
class expertise in all the different knowledge bases needed in multi-technology products is
prohibitive; 3) Even where resources are not an issue, it is simply impossible to be at the
frontier in every technological area, and finally 4) firms focus on their core competencies and
immediate attached areas while solutions offer require more, i.e. suppliers’ innovations..
Leadership at the frontier of specific technological areas of firms and PROs shifts rapidly,
particularly in new and emerging sectors (but less so in more mature industries).
12 Ibid.
‘Science’ Basic
research Applied
Cooperation tends to be long-
term, and pre-paradigmatic.
Activity is non-commercial and
is primarily dominated by large
MNEs, universities and PROs.
Output is in the form of
publications, not patents.
Technology is tacit, and property
rights undeveloped - Object is to
invent and share costs and risks
of innovation -Equity and long-
term commitments are preferred
to non-equity agreements.
Horizontal agreements
Cooperation is motivated by
market-related modifications and
adaptive, with a short-term horizon.
Technology is more codifiable -
possible to subcontract - objective
is to 'sell' innovation, and share
cost of making product saleable -
R&D outsourcing more likely:
Both vertical and horizontal
Long term
5-15 years Medium term
2-5 years Short- term
1-2 years
Public Research Organizations (PROs)
Universities and PROs often are a source of breakthrough science and innovation. The role of
universities and PROs in collaborative research is well described in the Responsible
Partnering Handbook developed by EIRMA, PROTON and EUA. The Responsible
Partnering framework provides ten, experience-based lessons to support successful
collaborative research. These lessons or guidelines can be summarized as follows:
foster strong institutions
align interests of collaborating partners
treat collaboration strategically
organize for lasting collaborations
provide the right professional skills
establish a clear intent for the collaborative work
use standard practices and communicate regularly
achieve effective management of intellectual property
provide relevant training
view innovation as a trans-disciplinary activity
Over the last ten years, those ten principles have become the cornerstone of collaborative
frameworks deployed across Europe by universities and PRO's alike. They serve as a useful
basis for a policy to support the development of strategic alliences between research
performing institutions outside Europe. The Commission should ensure greater awareness of
these guidelines.
MS and the EU have been relatively successful in promoting STI cooperation between
universities and PROs. However, the success of R&D cooperation between firms is hard to
judge a priori. Despite large investments to promote intra-EU R&D cooperation, in new
technologies, firms continue to show a preference to engage in alliances with US and
Japanese firms rather than EU firms (Narula 1999). In other words firms will not always
benefit from cooperation activities sanctioned or supported by EU instruments, and indeed,
they may have a higher risk factor than promoting intra-EU collaboration. However,
international R&D cooperation is not an alternative to intra-EU cooperation. It is an essential
complement to it, and has been for the last 25 years. Research has shown that EU-subsidised
R&D cooperation leads to an increase in non-EU cooperative activity.
Horizontal and vertical dimensions
It is important to distinguish between horizontal R&D cooperation and vertical R&D
cooperation. Each has different primary motivations:
Horizontal cooperation takes place among enterprises operating in the same industry,
engaged in roughly the same kinds and types of value adding activity. The opportunities for
economies of scale and scope are here maximized, but also provide the possibilities for
conflict and leakage of intellectual property from one partner to the other. The cooperation
between two biotechnology enterprises or between a human biotechnology enterprise and a
pharmaceutical manufacturer would be considered a horizontal alliance. These are strategic
in nature, and in general occur between large firms and organisations that are leaders in their
field. They are commonly used to establish standards, and may often be seen by regulators as
anticompetitive, as they involve some degree of collusion. They are also commonly preferred
in research (rather than development).
Vertical cooperation occurs among enterprises operating in related industries along the same
value chain, where one partner produces inputs for the other. The latter may be a larger
enterprise assembling or sub-assembling products from parts and components acquired from
different suppliers, including SMEs. It may also be a small systems integrator close to
markets and obtaining equipment from larger suppliers. Vertical collaborations are less
problematic, as the partners possess complementary but not competing capabilities and
opportunities. Their primary (but not the only) motivation is towards reducing costs.
Vertical alliances are especially important within global production networks and global
value chains, and are especially common for development (as opposed to research). Both
types of STI cooperation depend upon having complementary assets with which to barter.
International R&D strategies of MNEs
In the current process of globalization, the role of MNEs needs to be well understood. As is
more thoroughly discussed in a dedicated paper for the EG13 some crude facts emerge as
guides to policy:
a) The main conclusion of early work was that the world’s largest R&D spending firms
tend to locate a vast proportion of their innovative activities at home, close to the
location of their headquarters
b) However, the increasing levels of knowledge creation of EU firms from foreign
locations may result in a 'hollowing out' of national R&D. This is regarded as
indicative of a weakening of the national innovation system and an erosion of
technological competitiveness.
c) The quantitative growth in international R&D has been accompanied by a qualitative
restructuring of international R&D towards networks of corporate-wide centres of
excellence where MNEs are moving away from a ‘centralised hub’ to a multi-hub
‘integrated network’.
d) There are three distinguishing features of the drive towards increasing
internationalization of R&D and technology creation:
a. The first is the increasing level of green-field investments undertaken by large
R&D spending companies;
b. The second is the fact that such investments are now undertaken in an
increasing number of countries, including fast developing economies such as
India and China;
c. The third feature highlighted is that such investments often go beyond local
adaptation of nationally produced technology.
13 See Vandana Ujjual: Advances in the understanding of the International R&D Strategies of MNEs.
Unpublished paper, SPRU, Brighton, UK.
e) International outreach of R&D is one of the key strategic decisions that almost every
large R&D spending firm has to make and increasingly such firms are implementing
corporate-wide strategies for achieving this at the business unit and functional level.
An industry view on policy support
During the work of the EG, a dedicated workshop with representatives from industry and
European Technology Platforms was conducted (please see a summary in annex 4)14. The
main conclusions coming out of this workshop point to key policy implications:
a) The companies were keen to emphasise that the first thing to do in support of the
internationalisation of EU industry and the ERA is to continue to operate a strong (but
of course administratively simplified) Framework Programme. One aspect of
investing in STI in Europe is to attract FDI and to continue to make it attractive for
EU-based firms to remain in place.
b) Reciprocity in access to programmes was seen as important. There is lack of a clear
distinction between policy to support development in poor countries and STI
cooperation with developed ones. In the second case, the EU should only support
cooperation with countries that allow EU organisations to participate in their
programmes on a similar basis. The EU should devote efforts to persuading others to
open their programmes as this would make international cooperation easier.
c) International cooperation plays an important role in converging efforts, reducing risk
and setting standards. This is valuable and needs support well beyond Europe.
d) Researcher mobility schemes operating beyond Europe should be strengthened.
e) Investment by the EU not only in R&D but also in pilots and demonstrations is
necessary. They have benefits both for technological development and for
f) The EU should lead projects aiming to set global standards and norms. This is an
opportunity to take the initiative and have a decisive influence on the shape of such
g) The EU could also take the lead in projects addressing some of the grand challenges,
where a global effort is beneficial for everyone. This is especially useful in
‘horizontal’ issues where IPR is not a major concern. More broadly, EU international
projects should have clear and transparent IPR and exploitation rights. The EU
should work towards more harmonised international rules and practices in relation to
h) The EU efforts towards innovative procurement should be mirrored in international
activities – encouraging others to open their innovative procurement programmes also
to EU firms.
i) The EU should pay attention to traditional trade and industry policy aspects such as
reduction of trade barriers and encouraging entry.
The global context makes good and transparent framework conditions important. In fact, with
the increasing globalization, a global “STI commons” should be supported by rules,
14 To cover SMEs a small survey was conducted, see annex 5.
regulations and values that make up a level playing field. The EG therefore also supports the
recommendations coming from recent work on knowledge transfer identifying obstacles and
bottlenecks for international cooperation (Kaiser et al 2011).
Reducing transaction costs for SMEs
Various views hold that there are high barriers to participation in e.g. the European FP due
inter alia to high transaction costs for potential partners from developing countries (similar to
the challenges faced by EU SMEs) in terms of application, information gathering, reporting
etc; the need to rely on national level support from their home countries, which may have
different priorities and national champions/objectives they wish to prioritise. Given that
R&D time frames operate on a relatively small window – especially development activities
closer to the market, and in fast-moving sectors – such delays can make the purpose of the
collaboration redundant. Transaction costs include:
1. Costs of identifying and establishing membership of innovation network/GPN (Global
Production Networks)/cluster
a. Identifying specific new opportunities for collaboration.
b. Negotiation costs within the alliance (legal issues, etc).
c. IPR issues require well-defined consortia agreements regarding
d. Identifying and acquiring membership of the innovation network.
2. Costs associated with applying for EC /MS resources
a. Preparation of applications.
b. Participation costs/project management costs.
c. the reporting, monitoring and evaluation processes required for each project by
each contributing donor.
SMEs cannot afford to spend resources on long-term research projects, because short-term
imperatives mean that resources simply are not there to invest in these areas. Resources (time,
money) to address short-term goals reduce the ability to draw on resources for long-term
goals. Specific instruments may be:
1. Developing a structure that allows for the independence from research programmes
(i.e. largely “bottom-up”). One option is the establishment of specialised PROs which
will act as Centres for knowledge transfers built around communities of practice.
These centres will build strong partnerships with industry, national laboratories, and
international centres of excellence. Another well-established option is regional,
thematic-based clusters. Here, complementary offerings of geographically close
SMEs allow for better positioning at non-EU GVCs (Global Value Chains). Clusters
complement the supply chain capabilities of MNEs and allow for more strength of the
SMEs themselves.
2. Establishing ‘brokering’ organisations by industries. Identify the relevant knowledge
producers and knowledge users and bring them together in a comprehensive and
communication-rich network. Epistemic communities – researchers who share a
similar approach or a similar position on an issue and maintain contact with each
other across their various locations and fields - create new channels for information
and discussing new perspectives. This is a role that is perfectly designed for industry-
specific PROs.
3. Absorb transaction costs which make partnering with non-EU partners costly.
Specific recommendations:
The additional survey on SMEs conducted as part of the EGs work (see annex 5) highlighted
several recommendations in line with the above principle discussion:
SMEs need mediation for finding non-EU partners. This mediation should be sector-
specific, facilitating the communication between potential partners, the exchange of
know-how, as well as the access to information. This could be achieved through
improving the services of Enterprise Europe Network by making the way of
contacting companies more efficient and by improving the match-making services of
the Network for identifying relevant partners for international STI collaboration (pre-
screening). Improved, qualified assistance for project applicants, e.g. at EEN nodes,
should be available. Another possible option is networking of networks -
collaboration with other non-European networks similar to EEN. The initial focus
should be on mapping such networks outside Europe, their coverage and mandate and
identifying opportunities for collaboration. Some examples are the networks
supported by the World Bank, and the regional networks of UNIDO.
Building pilot infrastructures in non-European markets in order to better understand
their specific requirements. Some efforts on the EU level should be focused on
collecting appropriate information and statistics about the different industries and the
different markets.
Information about the respective non-European international cooperation programmes
should be available.
Reduction of red tape when applying for STI cooperation with partners from foreign
countries would be beneficial. Overhead for funded international cooperation is even
higher than for EU cooperation, so that the cost-benefit-relationship often is not in
favour of a proposal/participation. This should be considered in the funding schemes
of the EC for SMEs. Current bureaucracy is too complex, especially for SMEs. The
barrier to understand the requirements and the processes are too high to interest more
SMEs in participating in international STI. Therefore, either the bureaucracy for
SMEs is reduced and simplified, or the provided support at the proposal phase for
SMEs is improved to accelerate interest in the international EC programmes.
A promising approach to supporting international STI partnerships would lie in
supporting/establishing global Networks of Excellence in several technological fields
where the most important players in this field come together and build trust.
Towards a strategic approach
A strategic approach to international cooperation that includes a focus on industry and
innovation needs to be based on a balance between two considerations:
How to support and strengthen international cooperation through R&D related
resources on firm- or cluster level:
o Ensure that Europe becomes attractive as a region for lead markets, pilots and
demonstration, infrastructures for testing and technology verification, and that
Europe take a lead in technology platforms and standardisation through
cooperation with stakeholders, all with a view to reduce uncertainty for
industrial innovation.
o Stimulate mobility of researchers and students and access to talent and
o Ensure that the business support presence of EU and MS in 3rd countries is
coherent to provide relevant and professional innovation support to European
o A stronger coordination of national actions at EU level; Joint priority setting
and pooling of resources; public authorities to provide a clear response to
industry initiatives (e.g. Strategic Research Agendas) and easy access for
SMEs to international R& I.
o An EU strategy should avoid a too strong pre-selection of countries for
international cooperation. Industry typically differentiates between their
partners on strategic research vs. development and engages in different
countries accordingly. An EU strategy needs to be flexible to accommodate
this varied approach to international investments and cooperation in R&D.
How to develop and implement framework conditions globally that ensure level
playing fields:
o The EU should lead projects aiming to set global standards and norms. This is
an opportunity to take the initiative and have a decisive influence on the shape
of such standards. The EU could also take the lead in projects addressing
some of the grand challenges, where a global effort is beneficial for everyone.
This is especially useful in ‘horizontal’ issues where IPR is not a major
concern. More broadly, EU international projects should have clear and
transparent IPR and exploitation rights. The EU should work towards more
harmonised international rules and practices in relation to IPR.
o The EU should pay attention to traditional trade and industry policy aspects
such as reduction of trade barriers and encouraging entry.
o Ensure common rules in areas such as IPR, procurement and access to 3rd
countries’ procurement programmes, licensing.
o Creating a strong European voice to influence strong international actors on
regulatory matters.
o Help create strong international incentives to innovation like performance
regulation of products and technologies.
The output of the science system is both in the form of publications and patents, although
publications prevail in quantity. Over the last two decades though, universities and PROs
have developed the competencies and instruments to deal with this dual output
simultaneously. This has led to the development of IPR practices that are well developed and
articulated, even at the early stages of scientific discovery and publication. Even as
technology is under development, the Technology Transfer Offices that have emerged at
universities and PROs know very well how to deal with IP at the discovery frontier. This
emerging practice should be further developed in line with the guidelines for IP management
produced by the Knowledge Transfer Working Group of ERAC15 which specifically concern
research cooperation agreements with partners beyond Europe. The EG strongly supports
these guidelines as a key component in a EU level strategy for international cooperation.
15 European Research Area Guidelines on Intellectual Property (IP) Management in International Research
Collaboration Agreements between European and Non-European Partners. Knowledge Transfer Working Group
of ERAC, June 2012.
Exploit variable geometry
Objectives for STI internationalisation policies
Basically two different sets of R&D internationalisation objectives can be distinguished: an
intrinsic one, which put goals into the centre of public S&T policy that directly aim to
substantiate S&T (e.g. through enabling R&D cooperation among the best researchers
globally or to find joint solutions for large-scale R&D infrastructures which cannot be
financed by a country on its own); and an extrinsic one, which rather focuses on goals that are
meant to support other policies (e.g. facilitation of access to foreign markets through
standard-settings or research for development to assist technical development cooperation).
In 2008 the CREST16 working group on internationalisation identified among the European
Union Member States the following objectives that drive R&D internationalisation from an
S&T policy perspective17:
quality acceleration and excellence
market and competition
resource acquisition
cost optimisation
global or regional development
science diplomacy
Different rationales are guiding these objectives: the rationale behind the quality acceleration
and excellence objective is primarily an intrinsic one that assumes that international R&D
cooperation improves the domestic science base, leading to faster and improved scientific
progress as well as enhanced scientific productivity and is also supportive for the professional
advancement of the involved researchers (e.g. through joint publications in acknowledged
international journals). Behind this assumption stands the idea that only the ‘best’
(institutions and/or researchers) succeed also in international competitive procedures18. The
rationale behind the extrinsic market and competition objective is to support the market entry
of domestically produced technologies/innovations abroad as well as to support the access to
and a quick uptake of technologies produced abroad within the domestic economy. Here
absorption capacities and the availability of efficient spill-over mechanisms are of
importance. The rationale behind the resource acquisition objective overlaps partly with the
two major objectives mentioned before. The access to information, knowledge, technology
and expertise as well as to singular equipment/facilities and materials are in the focus. But
16 CREST (since 26 May 2010 renamed into ERAC: European Research Area Committee) is a strategic policy
advisory body whose function is to assist the European Commission and the Council of the European Union in
performing the tasks incumbent on these institutions in the sphere of research and technological development.
17 These were confirmed by Boekholt et al. (2009), who included in their comparative study also policy
examples from non-EU countries.
18 This assumption can, however, be challenged. A deliberation on this is provided by Schuch (2011).
resource acquisition is not limited to different codified and tacit dimensions of technology
transfer but extends to brain gain, gaining of solvent students (for universities) and
increasingly also gaining research funds from abroad or from multilateral or international
sources. The cost optimisation objective from a public S&T policy focus does not primarily
mean to use cost arbitrages (e.g. lower wages in a foreign country) as this might be a rational
argument of the corporate sector, but rather focuses on cost sharing approaches to create
critical mass in a certain science arena, e.g. to establish large scale research infrastructures
and it also includes the rationale of risk sharing. The assumption behind the global or
regional development objective is that many risks have no frontiers (e.g. infectious diseases
or climate change) or cannot be solved without international cooperation and solidarity (e.g.
Millennium Development Goals) and, thus, have to be tackled through international R&D
collaboration (e.g. research for development). Also the science diplomacy objective often
refers to global challenges and to development cooperation agendas. Fundamentally, it has
two main rationales: firstly to support through R&D cooperation other external policy
dimensions in terms of science for diplomacy (e.g. non-proliferation of mass destruction
weapons through keeping former weapon researchers busy with civilian R&D projects) and,
secondly, to promote the own science base abroad in support of other objectives already
mentioned above (e.g. to attract ‘brains’ or to promote a general quality trademark like “made
in ….”).
EC-Member States Coordination for international STI cooperation
As regards the European level, the former CREST working group made a comprehensive
attempt to analyse public S&T policies of 21 European countries19 towards R&D
internationalisation by placing R&D and innovation policy in an actor’s role (Sonnenburg et
al. 2008). This study clearly revealed that in most countries, which participated in this
working group, the traditional roles of S&T policy for R&D internationalisation, which can
be described as either ‘enabling’ or ‘preventing’ have been gradually challenged. The
enabling function comprises the development of stimulating incentives or support
programmes such as cross-border R&D programmes and/or the openness of national
programmes and projects (Edler et al. 2002), while the preventing function primarily
concerns the protection of intellectual property at international scale. Above all, however, the
main task of public S&T policy towards internationalisation of R&D traditionally was (and
still is) to keep the own house clean, i.e. to be an attractive place for conducting R&D and,
thus, for attracting R&D inflows from abroad too (Verbeek and Shapira 2009).
Examples for a more pro-active understanding are the introduction of incentives to attract
inward corporate and institutional R&D, to participate in cross-border research programmes
(often triggered by EC activities), to invest in joint R&D labs abroad, to support the mobility
of researchers and to intensify the coordination of R&D internationalisation policies among
EU Member States and countries associated to the EU RTD Framework Programme towards
19 Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Finland, France, Ireland, Island, The Netherlands,
Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom.
third countries, typically with the support of and in division of labour with the European
Commission. In 2008 SFIC, the Strategy Forum for International S&T Cooperation, which
has been recommended by the CREST Working Group, was established with a remit to
develop high-level co-ordination.
The basic rationale for pronounced coordination and collaboration efforts is the insight, that
scattered national STI undertakings will in many cases not deliver effective solutions in a
reasonably short time, while international co-operation can lead to the bundling of financial
and intellectual resources, thus exploiting economies of scale and scope (e.g. Henderson and
Cockburn 1996). In this sense, international cooperation is more and not less necessary in
times of tight public budgets. However, there are signals that international STI cooperation
activities at Member States level have been frozen or even reduced due to the necessity to
consolidate public budgets. An evidence-based assessment of the scope and scale of Member
States international STI activities is limited by the lack of data available in a standardised
manner on how much public money is allocated for international STI endeavours at national
level. Estimations vary within the lower one digit percent range.
In order to respond to the variety of legitimate R&D internationalisation objectives and the
global challenges mentioned above, the process of coordination, which brings different
elements of the international oriented STI system into a more “harmonious” and/or efficient
relationship, must be accelerated and transformed into collaborative actions, where joint work
is carried out to achieve common goals, to pool expertise and resources. In addition,
integration efforts should be taken on the strategic agenda, which would imply a shift of
competencies in order to combine activities or structures so that they form a new whole (see
Edler 2010). Examples of this could be a centralised implementation agency for international
ERA-NETs or an integrated approach for the establishment of INCO-houses in third
In order to foster international R&D cooperation between the EU, its Member States and
countries associated to HORIZON 2020 with international partner countries for the sake of
mutual benefit and progress, the partnership between the EU and the Member States must be
further promoted
by cutting back existing information asymmetries
by developing joint activities with critical mass based on variable geometry
and by promoting a stronger perception of Europe as a whole at the international
level, not just as a sum of single components but with value added.
It should be noted, that the promotion of partnership is not meant to replace individual efforts
(by the EC nor by the Member States), but to establish activities with European value added
and traceable impact to attain the basic objectives mentioned above.
Recommendations for promoting partnerships
The EG recommends starting the external policy dialogue and its follow-ups based on the priorities
and challenges identified. Country choices will result from such deliberations, but should not be the
In order to promote an enhanced partnership between the EU and Member States to address
challenges and thematic priorities, the focus is on the following actor levels and core
1) SFIC – function: policy coordination
2) MS/EC plus 3rd country partner regions - function: policy dialogue and collaborative
structural/thematic pilot activities
3) EC/MS plus 3rd countries with S&T agreement – function: collaborative roadmap
4) MS/EC plus 3rd countries – function: joint international research funding
5) R&D organisations – function: generic support for addressing global challenges
6) MS/EC – function: establishing European Lead Initiatives
7) EC/MS
1) Support the internal RTDI internationalisation policy coordination among the MS and
EC and at the same time unburden SFIC in its core tasks concerning priority setting and
harmonising framework conditions for joint international STI efforts, through
a) enhanced secretarial support,
b) an upgraded dedicated budget for expert workshops, promotion activities and
accompanying research (e.g. regarding S&T internationalisation indicators)
c) development of a user-friendly knowledge management system with web2.0
At the governance level, SFIC should ensure a truly high-level representation. Moreover,
the governance structure should be further developed into a reflective and responsive
“learning system” tailored to the needs of the specific targeted collaborations, allowing
active and responsive adaptation. In such an enhanced governance system also
implementation agencies and analytical ‘intelligence providers’ have to find their role and
place for operative exchange and collaboration. SFIC must continue to establish and
maintain linkages between national, regional and international levels to help to avoid
duplication and create transparency among stakeholders.
2) Support the external STI internationalisation policy dialogue between the MS plus
EC (internal variable geometry) and the rest of the world (through external variable
geometry) with the aim to develop and implement a number of coordinated pilot
a) through regional platforms
b) which reach out to different fields of policy (including economic and
development policy; innovation etc.) and to the targeted research communities
c) with a strong jointly accessible and usable analytical back-up function
building on already existing knowledge (see section on indicators)
d) with an ambition to establish coordinated pilot activities, which could be of
structural or thematic nature (e.g. thematic working groups to coordinate STI
efforts; promotion of European research capacities)
e) by including third partner countries case-by-case (variable geometry)
f) with a strong focus on global challenges
g) financed by the European Commission.
As regards the external policy dialogue support, benefits for MS should be better worked
out and procedures should be developed to better respond to the needs of the participants.
The policy dialogue should involve policy makers and policy-delivery systems (not
necessarily as partners but as participants in various activities), analytical intelligence
providers and multiplicators from the EU, the Member States and the international partner
countries. Outreach activities to other stakeholders, measures to put STI into practice and
support for capacity building for STI at a strategic level (e.g. through joint S&T policy
mix peer reviews), both at the side of EU MS and associated countries and third partner
countries, should be a priority at several stages of such projects. Capacity building should
be an element of joint efforts to address global challenges.
In this context, the increasing attention by the EU to address regions as a level (to better
engage groups of countries in dialogues and cooperation) deserves a comment. In line
with a key argument in this Report, priorities should be based on challenges and themes,
while partner countries are seen as channels for implementation. The EG does not see
regions as channels for implementation in this sense, but rather as potential mechanisms
for dialogue to address framework conditions and include STI in wider political and
diplomacy concerns. Approaching multiple countries for cooperation within a given
priority should give rise to (external) variable geometries with those that share those
3) Support the implementation of the results of the external S&T internationalisation
policy dialogue between the EC plus MS (variable geometry) and partner countries
with whom the EC has a S&T agreement with the aim to implement the jointly
developed roadmaps
a) in bilateral settings
b) which facilitate a stronger participation of excellent researchers in HORIZON
2020 projects AND the participation of excellent researchers from the EU in
national programmes of the partner countries through different instruments
(thematic workshops, procedural advisory services, promotion activities etc.)
c) in principle across all HORIZON 2020 priorities (but in practice limited by the
thematic or structural priorities agreed and stipulated by the S&T agreement
under scrutiny)
d) with operational and intellectual support for implementing structural and
thematic activities which have been jointly agreed by the EC and the third
partner country within their mutually agreed roadmaps
e) promoting European research in the partner country and vice-versa
f) financed jointly by the European Commission and the partner country with
S&T agreement.
4) Support the coordination of research funding between the MS plus EC (variable
geometry) and selected third partner countries through
a) International co-funding or matching-funding activities (e.g. based on ERA-
NETs, JP and twinning instruments)
b) thematically addressing – but not necessarily limited to –global challenges
c) a leverage effect in terms of European value added and critical mass
d) mutually agreed professional research programming, funding and evaluation
e) financing as a joint effort between the EC (coordination), the participating
Member States and countries associated (research funding), as well as the
participating international partner countries (research funding);
f) eventually offering a financial top-up of the EC to research funding (e.g. ERA-
NET PLUS) provided that the HORIZON 2020 rules for participation and
financial regulations are – at least to a high extent – applied (see separate box
Funding and spending mechanisms should contain contingency provisions and means
of ensuring funding for multi-annual research projects. Provisions for accompanying
measures (such as summer schools, thematic conferences, short-term mobility
schemes to S&T infrastructures), which also include partners with less financial
commitments, should be encouraged. Knowledge sharing and IP provisions should be
adapted to each phase of the collaboration cycle.
5) Support a few global strategic partnerships based on programmatic research
coordination and capacity building between excellent R&D organisations from the
EU and third partner countries
a) through enhanced ERA-WIDE projects including elements of IRSES (sub-
programme of the Marie Curie in FP7)
b) with thematic or generic enabling functions for addressing global challenges
(e.g. foresight on global challenges, social innovation for global challenges,
financial system’s observatory etc.)
c) through a high leverage effect in terms of intra- and extra-European
d) especially with partner countries with whom the EC has a S&T agreement and
with developing countries, where it is crucial to strengthen the institutional
and personnel capacities
e) funded by the EC (except with high-income partner countries, where a joint
funding regime should be applied).
Outreach from the research community to other stakeholders should be a priority at
several stages of any such project. Knowledge development and capacity building
should be an element of joint efforts to address global challenges.
Excursus: international ERA-NETs
Enhance the performance of international ERA-NETs
Verbeek and Shapira (2009) consider the integration of foreign actors into (collaborative)
R&D programmes as a channel to absorb excellence through cooperation. Since cooperation
is based on voluntarily participation, a strong win-win-assumption prevails.
With the support of the EC, groupings of Member States started to build - on basis of variable
geometries - international ERA-NETs as of FP6 to launch calls for proposals. Despite some
shortcomings, this approach proved to be promising and should be continued. It is, however,
recommended to invest more efforts and resources, both by the EC, the Member States and
3rd partner countries, to make this activity more sustainable and attractive and less prone to
Thus, the expert group suggests
to continue with the instrument of international ERA-NETs under HORIZON 2020, but
to grant a minimum duration of 5 years by requesting the established international ERA-
NET consortia to launch regular calls for inclusion of new partners before the conception
of new calls for proposals;
to set as a principle that – by referring to the subsidiarity principle - the coordination costs
of international ERA-NETs should be financed by the EC (eventually co-financed by
some [post-]industrial third partner countries as regards flanking measures such as
brokerage events etc.) and that the costs for projects funded under call for proposals
launched by the international ERA-NETs should be borne in essence by the participating
if, however, the partners of international ERA-NETs agree to adhere the HORIZON 2020
rules for participation and financial regulations, the EC should top-up the call budgets
with 50% (if there is a strong alignment) respectively 20% (if there is a lighter alignment)
(ERA-NET PLUS mechanism). Alignment criteria should be defined by the EC.
6) Support internationally oriented European Lead Initiatives in thematic areas
a) through scaling up existing research activities through enhanced coordination
b) based upon best practice of certain Member States identified by SFIC
c) enhanced through mutual opening-up of research funding programmes of
other Member States based on variable geometry
d) including the establishment of a platform and of clustering activities
e) with strong overseas promotion under the label of a European Lead Initiative
f) financed jointly by the MS and the EC
7) Establishment of feasibility studies and pilot activities to initiate several other
unilateral and/or (pilot) joint activities with Member States such as
a) European Weeks of Science, Technology and Innovation
b) Technology scouting activities
c) Foreign liaison offices
d) International IPR consultancy
e) Joint labs
f) Negotiated access conditions to foreign research infrastructures
g) Diaspora activities
h) European Summer Schools
i) Funded by the EC and participating Member States (variable geometry).
8) Besides the points 1-7 mentioned above, which are specifically addressing the policy
dialogue and its substantiation and targeting, the entire H2020 funding portfolio should be
used too to stimulate international RTDI cooperation between researchers from academia
and industry. However, international RTDI cooperation in the thematic directions/lines of
H2020 should be designed, explained and implemented in a more strategic manner and
less ad hoc, scattered and under-critical than in FP7, enabling more sustainable and
substantial RTDI results.
The need for an evidence- and analysis-based
Promoting indicators and information
The EG sees information and data as a key resource to design and support defined elements
and objectives in a strategy. Hence information and data, and its sharing, is not an end in
itself, but a means to an end. For the design and implementation of an EU internationalisation
strategy as outlined above, systematic data and analysis must specifically support (1) priority
setting – as any strategic effort must make choices – and (2) the choice of partner countries
and regions for each of the priority areas (countries follow priorities, not the other way
round). It thus (3) underpins negotiations within ERA (between MS and the Commission) and
with potential external partners and by doing so helps to create effective partnerships. It will
also develop a new focus on (4) supporting international innovative activities. This section
discusses the need and concepts for capturing data and information and for sharing it, with
the ends to support internationalisation of STI at EU level.
The nature and origin of relevant data and information is heterogeneous. Information is either
mainly based on standardised data linked to clearly defined indicators or it is more qualitative
and idiosyncratic20. Underlying data can either be collected centrally or it can be collected de-
centrally. Finally, data and information can either be shared and provided for all or it can be
done for specific, idiosyncratic purposes with limited value in sharing. The table below
summarises the different situations and highlights the basic principles for data collection and
information sharing.
The basic rationale
Indicators must support the three stated and agreed overall objectives of an EU
internationalisation strategy for STI: strengthen STI competitiveness, tackle global challenges
and support external policies. Against this background, and in line with the main message of
our report, the starting point for all development and use of indicators must be the need for
indicator support for a European level STI internationalisation strategy. The starting
20 A short principle clarification as to what we mean by information, data and indicators: Information is needed to make
decisions. Information is based on data and indicators and interpretation. Data are values of defined variables,
quantitative or qualitative. In itself, data has no meaning, it must be interpreted, it is the raw material for indicators and
information. Indicators are measures that refer to a clearly defined and measureable parameter and signify a specific
phenomenon beyond the parameter that is measured. Indicators are necessary to qualify and quantify a certain
phenomenon, most often one indicator is not enough to do so, and indicators need to be interpreted with care (e.g. co-
publication as one indicator for the level of cooperation, and it means different things in different scientific areas or
geographical regions). Information is data that is contextualised, with data brought into relations and interpreted
following certain interpretative frames, information carries meaning. Indicators support the translation of simple data
into information, but in itself are not enough. It is information that is the basis for action (Dasgupta and David 1992, 9),
not data or indicator itself.
questions thus ought to be: what kind of indicator and data does a European approach to
international STI need? Indicator development is therefore not mainly about aggregating data
obtained at Member State level. Rather, the need at EU level determines what we need to
collect data for. The data collection itself can – and should – of course be done in a way that
realises synergies with Member State activities and vice versa and it should avoid duplication
of work. Thus, EU level indicator development will have to take stock of what is being done
at national level and mechanisms should be in place that allow a sharing of data and
information (see section below) and allowing for a basic level of comparability. Further, the
indicator system must be lean; following the principle that only those data are collected that
are really needed for decision making.
Table 2: Matrix for information collection and sharing
Standardised, indicator based Idiosyncratic, policy practice,
collection and
Commission, Eurostat to collect data for
a set of agreed indicators through central
instruments (and where appropriate in
cooperation with OECD)
Commission collects “soft”
information and commissions studies
where it is needed specific to its own
strategies. Information and analysis
open to all MS
collection MS collect data through national
agencies and offices, and for an agreed
set of indicators send data to a EU
organisation to provide standardised
data (can be done through SFIC and
SFIC data subgroup).
MS collect soft information and share
those parts where there is common
agreement that sharing is in the
overall EU interest (done through
The discussion of indicators and processing needs to answer three key questions:
1) What do we need indicators for at European level (functions), and which indicators
are best suited to fulfil those selected functions (functional fit)21?
2) Who should define the indicators and collect the data? Who uses the indicators
3) How are data collected, processed and shared (process)? What is needed on a regular
and permanent basis, what capacities are needed for ad hoc initiatives?
Which indicators are needed? Functions and levels of indicators
Indicators are important tools for decision making in STI policy and STI strategy of research
organisations and firms. There is a whole range of related but distinct functions of indicators.
Four basic functions must be differentiated:
21 This will have to include questions regarding the limitations of indicators.
1) Understanding the status quo in terms of the EU’s STI profile and STI
internationalisation activities: this helps to define the needs as starting point for the
strategy (own competencies, gaps, needs as seen by various actors within EU)
2) Formulating targets, benchmarks to reach: this helps to define goals, to communicate
the purpose of international activities and to measure achievements later on (link to
thematic priorities of H2020). The targets must follow from the overall goals of the
internationalisation strategies (in terms of societal challenges and bottlenecks to be
addressed and opportunities to be captured).
3) Understand global bottlenecks (e.g. access to markets and infrastructure, legal
obstacles to cooperation etc.) and opportunities (STI profiles, “hot spots” abroad in
light of rapidly changing global landscape): this helps to link the thematic priorities
defined to concrete choices in terms of in terms of scientific and technological fields
and in terms of partner countries/regions (country follows priority) and it enables
effective negotiations with partners.
4) Monitoring development and measuring the impact of international activities and
related public support on the
a. overall goals of the EU STI policy strategy (in terms of STI competitiveness,
contribution to tackle grand challenges and external policy support) and
b. the stakeholders involved.
The following figure is a graphical representation of those four functions of indicators for STI
For strategic development, all four functions are important. However, an indicator system for
the future development of EU strategies in STI internationalisation should focus on the
bottlenecks within the status quo analysis, on opportunity structures to capture untapped areas
for researchers and firms and, finally, the measurement of effects in order to monitor the
support given and re-adjust the strategy as needed.
The indicators we suggest in this report should focus on the usefulness for the support of EU
level policy strategy. However, in order to do so, indicators must also be able to capture
international opportunities, activities and internationalisation effects for different actor groups
and at various levels: individual scientists (cooperation, mobility, recognition), research
organisations and firms (cooperation, re-location, transfer), systems (EU level, country level).
The latter also includes indicators on policy making itself (framework conditions, support
mechanisms and funding opportunities etc.).
In consequence of this multi-function, multi actor framework, there is a number of potential
indicators that could support the strategy process within the framework outlined is endless.
We recommend
to limit a European system of indicators to the minimum required to define priorities,
design activities, negotiate with partners and measure success;
to build up the indicator system gradually, starting with those that are indispensible
for decision making at EU level and which are readily available (quick wins);
to have a stronger focus on innovation related indicators than we had in the past - in
line with a stronger emphasis on innovation and internationalisation of firms’ STI
Figure 5: Uses of indicator in policy making
Dri vers: wh y are
policies set up?
Objectives for
Design Internat.
policies + mechanisms
Definition success
and targets
What have
we ach ieved?
Indicators I
Within the policy
Indicator II
What is our STI position?
Sectoral policy
Attached to goals &
Indicators for
measuri ng impact
and success
Strategi c intell igenc e on
policies and
STI capacities elsewhere
Impl ementation
Source: Edler/Flanagan 2011; Boekholt et al 2009
One final clarification is needed: For many indicators it would be desirable to have both the
intra- and extra-European dimension to understand the relative importance of non-EU vs.
intra-EU activities. While we believe that it is crucial to understand the level of cross border
and trans-national activities within Europe (as is done in the emerging ERA indicator
framework), an EU strategy for internationalisation must focus in addition on the extra-EU
dimension and be linked in with the ERA indicator framework.
Key indicators for a European internationalisation strategy22
In this section we list selected indicators along the various actor groups and levels which the
group thinks are of vital importance for a mid- and long-term STI internationalisation
strategy. For each set of indicators we will indicate the priority in order to signal where the
EG thinks action should start.
Individual Scientists
22 The compilation of indicators draws on Edler/Flanagan 2009 and 2011 and Schuch 2011
Scientific collaboration: (priority medium, lots of data available already, but important to
understand status quo of international activities)
Co-Publication and co-inventions (applications, granted) of EU and non EU partners
authors (absolute numbers, relative shares, differentiated for knowledge areas,
analysis of partner countries).23
Citations of extra-EU collaborations (vs. intra-EU or non-collaborative papers),
development over time
Financing: (priority low) Publications from projects funded by non EU funding sources24
The data for those indicators should be compiled and analysed on a regular basis through in-
house capacities (DG Research or JRC IPTS) or outsourced to a regular data provider.
Mobility: (priority high as competition or talent is a major challenge)
Indicators should capture mobility (intended for limited duration) and migration (in principle
open by nature) of public and private researchers. Given the importance of the availability of
talent in the decades to come, there should be a focus on PhD and early stage career
researchers, inward, outward. Data should enable country and field specific analysis.
Indicators on mobility should build on the work done in the EU funded project IISER
(Integrated Information System on European Researchers25). The IISER indicator set covers
researcher stocks (general and early stage), research careers and researcher mobility (intra-
EU, into and out of the EU).
As the instruments are in place at EU level for most of the data, data for those indicators
should be compiled and analysed in a European wide database, building upon existing
Research Organisation (medium priority)
Data for research organisation (PRO and Universities) is very scattered and non-systematic
across Europe. Every ambition must take this into account. We thus recommend starting with
a simple list of key indicators to understand dynamics and effects of international activities
and relations of organisations. 26
Share of projects with non EU partners
Share of project and licencing income coming from non EU sources
Number, location and size/importance of labs in non-EU countries
Share of employed research staff coming from non EU countries
23 An analysis of numbers and trends should be accompanied by a selected analysis of patent values, i.e. linked
to licensing income.
24 Can be analysed via Web of Science, as this data is available now on a regular basis.
25 More information on this project can be found at:
26 This list does not contain as yet so called strategic “positioning indicators” (Lepori et al. 2008, Barré 2006)
which indicate the position of organisations within their system and vis-à-vis other organisations (such as the
existence of internationalisation strategies etc.).
Qualitative assessment of trends through leading research managers (countries,
importance of industry as partners)
There is no reliable reporting system across Europe in place to compile this data. The data for
those indicators could be compiled through a simple electronic annual monitoring survey with
organisations across Europe; it could also be linked to existing endeavours to measure
research activities of organisations.
Firms and innovation activities (medium to high priority as innovation internationalisation
is a new focus)
While international R&D of firms has been a hot topic in academic research, and while a few
countries have a very elaborate annual reporting system on industrial R&D (such as
Germany), uniform and pan-European indicators for activities and opportunities of firms are
scarce. Therefore, the indicators we suggest here are moderate to start with, but this report
suggests building up more thorough indicators and data for innovation activities. Those are
important to understand weaknesses and strength of European as a location and European
based firms as innovation actors and to see developments over time.
We build on the assumption that a new, specialised pan-European survey system for firms is
not practicable. However, next to existing databases (e.g. patents, foreign investments
(statistical offices)) the regular CIS survey should be expanded to include some of the
variables below.
Bottleneck and need survey mobilising existing channels (at national level, see below)
(we suggest to give this line of analysis highest priority)
Share of business R&D (share of R&D expenditure) performed by non EU MNEs
(national statistical offices) within European countries
Share of affiliates under foreign (non-European) control in the business sector
(national statistical offices) within European Member States
Share of R&D of affiliates outside Europe as percentage of expenditure in Europe
Share of R&D workers of European based companies located outside EU (CIS),
compared to the share of overall staff located outside Europe.
Number of R&D labs of European companies outside Europe (locations), (CIS)
Geographical origin of external source for innovation: differentiation for EU and non
EU sources (CIS)
Number / share of technological collaborations with non EU partners (alliances and
project specific, firms and public organisations a partners) (CIS)
Share of patents with co-inventor from non EU countries (country and technology
area analysis) (regular monitoring, EU, service provider)
International licensing income (share from non EU income) and technological balance
of payment
International acquisition of firms in technology intensive areas
The indicators so far are traditional indicators that capture important dimensions of
internationalisation. One caveat of this list is that they do not reflect the breadth of innovation
activities, and they do represent innovation activities differently for different sectors. As the
international innovation dimension is becoming more important, we suggest to explore and
develop new types of indicators. This exploration should receive high priority as it promises
to add value to understanding new trends and relevant dimensions of innovation
internationalisation. Examples of those indicators to be developed are:
De facto standards, an indication of technological leadership, determining the
production and diffusion of innovation. Those de facto standards are hard to capture
systematically, analytical work could be done by the EU to establish processes to
capture the development of de facto standards.
Level of involvement and leadership in standardisation bodies, such as number of
chairs in standardisation bodies coming from different countries.27 This measure
indicates leadership and involvement at international scale.
Existing caveats for innovation measurement: We need to stress that this report focuses on
key STI indicators. The discussion here does not encompass two important dimensions that,
for a holistic development of an STI internationalisation strategy, should be considered in the
future (medium priority):
the scope and relative strength of production and value added in different areas. An
overall strategy that also focuses on innovation must take production and
competitiveness indicators into account. We suggest to link indicator work to the
valuable work on key enabling technologies (KET)28, i.e. to link patent and
publications analysis with analysis of market share of certain innovative products or
technologies – depending on strategic interests.
the demand conditions for innovation, i.e. the readiness of markets to trigger and
absorb innovations. The more favourable demand for innovation is in an area, the
more likely it is that innovation generation and spill over innovations (complementary
services and products) will also happen in this area. Especially in ICT and internet
based products and services forefront demand and co-development of innovations are
closely linked. Thus, data on market entry and diffusion patterns should be made
available to understand geographical differences in diffusion and understand where
the test markets for innovations are in different areas. This is crucial for any
international activity that is market oriented.
Funding, policy and framework conditions within EU and in selected comparator
countries / regions
27 The group is grateful to Prof. Knut Blind, Berlin, for this suggestion.
28 See
The development of a strategy at EU level must be built on a sound knowledge of existing
funding patterns and policy driven initiatives, at national and EU level. This analysis is not
solely indicators based, but as for indicators, the following are suggested:
Funding (medium priority):
Share of public R&D programme and Research Council spent on non EU partners, if
possible for fields (indicator need: a systematic overview does not yet exist)
Funding income for firms and research organisations from non EU sources (if
possible for sectors and fields)
Share of and opportunities in funding programmes open to non EU participation,
including all instruments set up at EU level (JPI, ERA-NET calls etc.)
A European status quo analysis of scientific and technological strengths and a European
aggregation of the data captured for the dimensions above should be enabled by these kinds
of indicators (where data comes from national sources) (high priority)
Hot spot analysis of non EU countries (high priority): Understanding of opportunities and
threats for a European STI strategic should include a system of scientific and technological
field specific analysis of hot spots outside the EU to help to identify excellent individuals and
organisations / firms as well as a system to understand the public spending patterns for those
selected areas (in order to detect future strengths and future cooperation possibilities). This
hot spot analysis should get high priority, but, as stated above, must focus on those areas that
have been identified as priorities for international activities rather than start with country
Information and data sharing
Basic principles
The sharing of information and data follows out of the needs at EU level. Ideally, the
mechanisms developed will also help Member States in their internationalisation activities,
information sharing will thus be a two way street, but the focus is: how can partners share
information in a way that makes EU level policy more effective and efficient and in doing so
also supports MS activities?
Data and information can be shared that has been collected centrally or that is distributed.
The latter concerns information and data that are generated and collected in a dispersed
fashion without a central coordination, but that may, for aggregate benefits at European level,
be shared. It is obvious that there will be much more information available on national level,
at Commission level, among R&D organisations etc, than should or could be shared among
principle policy makers at European level. Hence, a key principle for information sharing will
be that it should be purpose led.
Data gathering and sharing for the indicators suggested
In terms of data for the indicators the following principles are suggested:
a collaboration of DG Commission services (DG Research, JRC IPTS), EUROSTAT
(through adjusting regular reporting by national offices, through support of patent and
publication analysis) and Member States activities that are reported through
appropriate channels such as SFIC (see above, section on EC – MS coordination).
An adjustment of analytical tools to the pressing need of improved internationalisation
(such as enlargement and adaptation of the CIS survey)
The European Commission should have the main responsibility
to build up capacity for bottleneck and opportunity analysis in areas where there is a
broader need (not specific for individual firms) (high priority)
to capture international activities across all EU (co-)funded instruments and
to influence EU level and financed instruments to better capture international
activities (eg. CIS) (high priority)
to actively support and coordinate data capture of Member States for EU purposes
(high priority)
to set up a regular EU level specific publication and patent analysis (medium priority)
Co-ordination of Member States activities cannot be a command and control fashion. Rather
we strongly recommend that SFIC is mandated with establishing an indicator and data sub-
group that is linked to the key data gathering units in the various Member States and
establishes a flow of data. As the indicator needs as outlined in this report are limited to basic
requirements, for most of the indicators data already should exist and updated on a regular
SFIC and the Commission should also collaborate to develop joint guidelines and standards
for “positioning indicators”, e.g. indicators that capture the strategic and operational activities
and relative position of organisations in the global STI system.29
As regards the data collection process for those indicators, there are two basic ways forward:
1) use and enlarge existing survey (CIS and S&T[Frascati]-surveys)
2) make a separate standardised inquiry (which has – next to some disadvantages – also