WP66 2012/06 "Internationalisation of R&D Activities of Austrian Firms: Strategic Drivers for Spatial Organisation"
Publication from Policies
S. Meyer, M. Berger
R&D activities of firms are becoming increasingly internationally organised, with a growing number of new locations in emerging economies and an increasing number of small and medium-sized enterprises tapping into internationalisation. The aim of this paper is to link international R&D strategies of small and medium-sized enterprises to the spatial organisation of R&D activities. A survey of Austrian firms forms the basis of the analysis. The findings show a clear geographic concentration of foreign R&D activities of Austrian firms in Western and Eastern Europe, especially Germany. However, this general distance decay function is ‘distorted’ by regions’ evolutionary trajectories and their peculiarities, such as cultural and cognitive proximity, and by the scope of R&D envisaged by the firm. The analysis reveals that knowledge-exploiting strategies are more common for activities in emerging economies, whereas knowledge-gaining and learning strategies drive the establishment of activities in countries with an advanced national innovation system. Furthermore, small and medium-sized firms tend to internationalise via international cooperation rather than via the establishment of their own subsidiaries abroad. Plans for future activities show only limited change in this respect.