in Large Companies
LOCOMOTIVE FINAL CONFERENCE
Hamburg 5-6 June 2007
Background to project
The goal set by the Lisbon Agenda for European growth is formulated in the Barcelona objective that R&D investment in the EU should rise to 3% of GDP with two thirds coming from the private sector by 2010. This is proving to be a difficult challenge. As Commission Potocnik has had to point out in January 2007, the current figures produced by Eurostat for 2005 show a stagnation at around 1,9%. Ref http://blogs.ec.europa.eu/blog_potocnik/page/potocnik?entry=figures_for_r_d_investment
There are many explanations for this. One of the most influential analyses is given in the Aho report. While there is much to be done at collective EU policy level, equally if Europe is to play a significant role in the knowledge economy, all levels of policy making European, national and regional have a role to play.
The FP6 Regions of Knowledge Project LOCOMOTIVE has been looking at the policies of significant private sector R&D investors (i.e. multi-national enterprises) in the eight regions of the project partners to learn and understand more about current thinking of global R&D decision-makers and how they perceive their locations. Many regional policy makers find a dialogue with the management of international companies problematic. Part of this is due to the fact that the decision-makers for R&D strategy may not be located in the region even though the R&D unit is. But without understanding the localisation strategies of major private R&D investors better, regional policy makers will not be able to harness or leverage private investment in support of regional development. A lack of an effective dialogue could well mean that clustering policies miss their mark, and that much regional investment of time and money could be in vain.
LOCOMOTIVE aims to bridge the gap in this dialogue in a highly pragmatic manner, by offering a framework for discussion. Interviews and roundtable discussions have been conducted with global R&D managers. The culmination of the project is the LOCOMOTIVE Final Conference which under the theme "Managing the links: global trends and regional policies in R&D location" aims to provide a platform for wider access to the findings and a collective discussion about should be done.
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