The Internationalisation of Business R & D

The Internationalisation of Business R & D

New Perspectives on the Modern Corporation series

Edited by Bernhard Dachs, Robert Stehrer and Georg Zahradnik

It has become clear that over the past few decades enterprises not only produce and sell abroad but increasingly also develop goods and services outside their home countries; a development now known as the internationalisation of business R & D. This book presents a comprehensive picture of the current state of internationalisation of R & D in the business sector.

Chapter 3: Issues in Collecting Data on the Internationalisation of R & D

Georg Zahradnik and Waltraut Urban

Subjects: business and management, international business, economics and finance, economics of innovation, international business, innovation and technology, economics of innovation


Data on R & D expenditure of foreign-owned firms collected from national statistical offices, EUROSTAT and the OECD is the basis of the analysis of this book. This chapter summarises the experiences from the data collection. After presenting some basic definitions of R & D and innovation in the context of internationalisation of R & D, we provide a summary of the available data and discuss existing data gaps and important pitfalls that have to be taken into account when analysing data on foreign-owned R & D. For the analysis of the internationalisation of business R & D a first important step is to clearly define business R & D and distinguish R & D from other types of innovation activity. The OECD Frascati Manual defines R & D as ëcreative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applicationsí (OECD 2002, p. 30). Compared to innovation, the term R & D rather refers to scientific discovery and knowledge creation than to the economic application of new knowledge. In practice, however, many firms may find it difficult to distinguish between innovation and R & D activities. Both terms are overlapping: R & D financed and performed by enterprises is always an innovation activity; in fact, R & D expenditure accounts for around half of innovation expenditure. The share is higher in countries with high average R & D intensity, such as Finland, Austria, France or Sweden, where R & D expenditure accounts for more than 60 percent of total innovation expenditure.

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