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Internationalisation of ICT R&D

  • Authors: Giuditta De Prato, Daniel Nepelski and Juraj Stancik
  • EUR Number: 24888 EN
  • Publication date: 9/2011


This report investigates the contrasting views on the process of R&D internationalisation. On the one hand, there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence of companies locating their R&D activities outside of their home countries in order to search for new sources of knowledge and locate themselves close to new markets. On the other hand, however, the levels of international patents lead one to conclude that the level of R&D internationalisation is negligible. Such discrepancies in the views on the new geography of R&D activity, together with the scarcity of data illustrating the developments in R&D activity, pose a challenge for informed policy making.
This apparently contradictory evidence can be explained by the complexity of the inventive process and various motivations behind the decisions to do R&D abroad. To address these complexities related to the internationalisation of R&D, the report uses a methodology that divides the process of R&D into input and output side and, subsequently, analyses separately their levels of internationalisation. The results confirm that there is a discrepancy between them.
The EU and the US have higher levels of internationalisation than Japan and Asia. However, according to which measures are taken into account, there are differences between the levels of internationalisation in the EU and the US. For example, these two regions have similar levels of R&D input internationalisation, but very different levels of R&D output internationalisation. A comparison of Japan and Asia also shows that these two regions follow different R&D internationalisation trajectories. On the one hand, these discrepancies may indicate that all regions follow different R&D internationalisation paths. On the other hand, they may also be a sign of the unequal capabilities of companies from different regions to ‘go global’.

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