Azione understands that corporate R&D internationalisation processes have intensified over the years, and it is important to optimally manage the benefits and costs of these processes.
Companies are actively building international R&D networks to share the costs and risks involved, to exploit research synergies, and to innovate faster. The similarities among technologies and products across sectors and the cross-fertilisation of technologies that is occurring between sectors are also drivers. In order to remain competitive, firms must master innovations across an expanding range of specialised fields and this requires tapping into different scientific communities around the world.
The forces that may influence R&D activities in terms of location and organisation are market potential, R&D personnel, university collaboration, and intellectual property protection. Further factors are the public support of R&D activities, the quality of the technological infrastructure, and macro economic and political stability. Finally, the proximity to a large and affluent market is crucial when deciding about outsourcing corporate R&D activities.
When a company internationalises its R&D, it can transfer technology to the foreign subsidiaries in which the technological assets developed in the home country are exploited after some adaptation to the characteristics of foreign markets. The company can also make R&D investments abroad in order to acquire resources only available at foreign locations and to augment their stock of knowledge.
Azione works with companies to develop different R&D structures:
- Centres of Excellence: dispersed labs with a global mandate each
- Specialisation: dispersed labs with overall main resources in one location
Setting up of research facilities abroad not only helps companies to access complementary expertise, but also allows them to be closer to markets where their R&D can be exploited. Foreign R&D activities may provide access to technologies and can represent a channel for transferring knowledge back to the home country.