R&D Collaboration between CERN and Industrial Companies: Organizational and Spatial Aspects

Hähnle, Michael (1998) R&D Collaboration between CERN and Industrial Companies: Organizational and Spatial Aspects. IIR-Discussion Papers, 56a. WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna.


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The findings of fundamental research in fields like fusion research, space research or high energy physics stimulate innovation and technological progress in industry. Although R&D collaborations between companies already have been investigated in detail, R&D collaborations between companies and large-scale research centers are not well understood. This report is a part of a PhD study which aimed at providing answers to the question of how to best organise and manage R&D collaborations between industry and scientific centers. This research problem is analysed using CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, as a case study. A conceptual framework is designed based on previous findings in Transaction Cost Economics, Strategic Management and the findings of related Empirical Studies. The conceptual framework captures the dynamics of R&D collaborations from conceptual design to managerial implementation: Besides the design of the collaboration format, one should pay particular attention to the selection of the collaboration partner, the negotiation of the collaboration agreement and the implementation of the collaboration. Based on the conceptual framework, general problems and success factors of innovative collaborations are identified. The collected empirical evidence from 21 cases of R&D collaborations between the electronics and data communications industry and CERN is used to answer the research problem. The empirical data was gathered in personal interviews with company engineers and CERN engineers who were directly involved in the selected R&D collaborations. The exploratory analysis leads to the identification of critical issues concerning the design of the collaboration format, the selection of the partner, the negotiation of the agreement and the implementation of the project. A deeper analysis of four R&D collaborations investigates how the collaboration partners organised the projects in order to ensure effective communication and common learning despite geographical separation. Apart from developing a conceptual framework for analysing R&D collaborations, the contribution of this study to the theoretical debate is to add more nuance to observations in the current literature regarding factors resulting in successful collaborations. More specifically, the motivations for taking part in R&D collaborations and the differences between small and large companies are elaborated here in more detail. Second, the importance of informal networks and the role of trust in such undertakings can be demonstrated in a more differentiated way. Third, the link between specific communication patterns and the location of the collaboration partners is elaborated.

Item Type: Paper
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Multi-Level Governance and Development > Stadt- u. Regionalentwicklung
Depositing User: Mohammad Al Hessan
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2018 13:08
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2019 00:41
Related URLs:
URI: https://epub.wu.ac.at/id/eprint/6154


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