R&D Support Programs (the Need)

R&D Support Programs (the Need)

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3652-9.ch001

Abstract

Any good business plan starts with the definition of the need for which it intends to base the entire business. Following that example, the discussion here should also start with the need for such programs, their strategic role as defined by research, and the rationale that makes them prevalent. When discussing R&D support programs, one needs to bear in mind that there are different types of such programs. The specific needs such programs were designed to answer, whether well or less so, the target audience or clients they address, and the specific legal environment they operate in, influence the different types and give rise to the need for different types of programs to begin with. In this chapter, we shall define the R&D support program and analyze examples of the influence the parameters mentioned above, have on the structure and function of the programs. The different types as well as support tools will be discussed at a later chapter (Chapter 05 – R&D support program types).
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The Conceptual Framework Regarding R&D Support Programs

R&D support programs are a tool to promote via financial support R&D activity, with the aim of fostering increased economic development. Therefore, any discussion regarding R&D support programs shall include R&D related topics, such as: R&D management, different types of research (e.g. basic. Translational, applied etc.); types of R&D performers (e.g. industrial firms, universities, research centers, Technology Transfer institutes); Technology Transfer issues (e.g. Technology Transfer process, barriers and bridges to Technology Transfer, the role of the TTO, etc.) and Intellectual Property issues (e.g. protection, licensing, etc.). This is in addition to the discussion of the added aspects the programs would have, and the basic issue of the rational for such programs and who operates them.

When discussing such a topic one should remember that we have the added burden of defining the terms each time they are discussed as R&D may mean different things when dealing with firms in different sectors. Since the topics mentioned above are interwoven it is important to present a conceptual map that will allow the discussion to progress in an orderly manner.

One should bear in mind that not all the support given to firms and other organizations can be grouped under the title of “R&D support program”, and even some of the innovation schemes are different. In the subsections below we shall mark the line in the sand to differentiate between the different activities.

Figure 1 below, presents the major steps and reasons for the activities, the performers and the role of the R&D support programs as facilitators of the process. This is a very general framework, and the special cases will be mentioned when each item is discussed in turn in the book.

Figure 1.

R&D process conceptual framework

As can be seen in the conceptual framework. It is the responsibility or role of the firms to bring the R&D results to the market and create the economic growth. They of course have their own incentives which will be discussed below. The research organizations (in general) are involved in basic research, in the Technology Transfer to the firms and in the R&D to some extent. The R&D arena is where both research organizations and firms may be involved in. It is important to note that their involvement may vary in extent and rate from sector to sector. R&D Support programs are described in a cloud to denote that they are a collection of different types and that they sometimes include other goals in addition to direct R&D support.

A caveat should be inserted here, regarding the contribution of new knowledge from the universities to the market. There is an additional channel for the universities to forward such innovation to the market – the education system. The easiest to recognize is the via the research students, MA, MSc and PhD who following their graduation take their research capabilities and to a certain extent migrate into the industry, bringing their capabilities and knowledge to the recipient companies. To a lesser extent, it also happens with the BA and BSc graduates. Some programs support the migration of similar HR to the industry (e.g. Marie-Curie programs in Horizon 2020).

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The Need

The increased prevalence of international trade agreements opening local markets to international competition, increased the rate of globalization. The globalization of world markets is making competition ever more intense. In most production sectors, this is best evidenced by the prevalence of the “Made in China” trademark. An interesting example is the fast disappearance of PV manufacturers in many local markets, in favor of Chinese manufacturers.

This has also affected less technology enhanced sectors such as the publication sector. Today, as it is so easy to publish your own work, it is becoming more and more difficult, not to publish your work, but to get anyone to notice it. Every trick, advantage in the market is a better term, is welcome as it allows the publisher to get his publication noticed and gain his income from it. Bloggers are rated according to the number of followers they have.

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