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Technology Transfer, information flows and collaboration

The European Innovation Monitoring System (EIMS) has published a report entitled "Technology Transfer, Information Flows and Collaboration: an Analysis of the Community Innovation Survey". The report, prepared for the European Commission (DG XIII) by the Manchester School of M...
The European Innovation Monitoring System (EIMS) has published a report entitled "Technology Transfer, Information Flows and Collaboration: an Analysis of the Community Innovation Survey". The report, prepared for the European Commission (DG XIII) by the Manchester School of Management and the University of Warwick (UK), investigates the importance of information flows and technology transfer within firms and groups, between firms in the same country, between EU Member States and between the EU and other trading blocks.

Information flows and technology transfer are crucial to the competitiveness of firms, since they help determine a firm's information and skills base, and the efficiency with which it can process and use knowledge. Furthermore, improvements in the knowledge base allow some firms to move towards best practice and others to shift the knowledge frontier outwards. Both occur dynamically, such that best practice is continually changing due to novel combinations of existing information and technology and the development of new technologies.

Overall, the picture that emerges from this study is one of interconnectedness in innovation processes, not only nationally, but to some degree globally, suggesting that national policies to support particular production units will have limited success. Furthermore, the need for information appears to increase with innovative activity. This implies that policies to improve information and technology transfer need to distinguish between firms that do and do not innovate and their degree of innovative activity.

The low importance of public research institutions among smaller firms indicates that there could be considerable scope for policy actions to expand their contribution to the innovative activities of SMEs. The results of the analysis of technology flows by location show different degrees among countries in the importance of non-domestic locations. A clear result is that the balance of flows is also from the higher to lower technology countries, as shown by the higher percentage of firms that transfer technology to non-EU Europe than acquire technology from this region.

Source: European Commission, DG XIII

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