Research and Development (R&D) efforts are increasingly being globalised, shows a study by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT).
The globalisation of Research and Development spans across public and private sectors. India’s publicly funded R&D institutions like those under the department of scientific & industrial reserach, department of biotechnology, CSIR etc are collaborating with foreign firms in diverse areas of R&D.
These institutions have joined hands through a global research alliance (GRA) group with a strength of more than 50,000 scientists and technologists with the objective of achieving the millenium development goals as agreed upon at the Johannesburg summit on sustainable development, says the IIFT.
The alliance is shared by CSIR-South Africa, CSIR-India, Technical Research Centre Finland (VTT), Fraunhofer Gesellschaft-Germany, USA among others. Bilateral R&D alliances are also emerging between government-funded institutions of one country with another.
For instance, CSIR has also entered into bilateral agreements with ICRF in UK, ministry of science & technology of Russia, NSFC in China among many others.
Multinational companies have also set up affiliate laboratories abroad to outsource R&D components.
In India, as many as 60 foreign MNCs have established their R&D centres during the last five years. Texas Instruments, Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, i2 Technologies, Daimler Benz and John Welch Technology Centre of General Electric are prominent among these.
In USA atleast 635 foreign owned and free-standing R&D facilities were established after 1986.
Inspite of the plethora of alliances more than 40% of these have failed due to lack of trust, mismatch with partner’s strategy and culture, operational problems and inability of the partner to deliver expected competencies, says IIFT.
If these issues can be dealt with, smaller companies without adequate capital and technological resources can establish technological linkages to make use of this huge R&D network to become competitive and innovative.