Internationalisation of R&D boosts sustainable industrial growth

Brussels, 4 December 2012 – Multinational enterprises (MNEs) can boost innovation, productivity and competitiveness through the internationalisation of research and development (R&D) activities, with positive impacts for both the home and host states of the MNE, a study led by the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) has found. The findings will help to shape the European Commission’s Mission Growth initiative, designed to strengthen Europes crisis-hit industrial sector and move it towards sustainable production.

The Commission’s new industrial communication has a strong focus on greening industry through six priority action lines, including technologies for clean production, bio-based product markets and sustainable raw material use. These areas, noted Bonifacio Garcia Porras, Head of Innovation Policy for Growth in DG Enterprise and Industry, ‘have high growth potential and great possibilities, but face obstacles that need to be overcome through policy intervention.’

Participants in a validation workshop held in Brussels were invited to contribute to the discussion and the consortium put policy recommendations to the Commission to foster the attractiveness of the EU as a location for R&D, promote global innovation collaboration and internationalisation of knowledge intensive businesses, and maximise the benefits of cross-border knowledge sourcing and exploiting activities of MNEs.

Such measures are vital for growth in green technologies, where international investment and collaboration in R&D have been identified as key drivers of eco-innovation. Europe already hosts 46% of all green technology projects, but continued support will be vital to ensure the Union meets its full growth potential. ‘We are the best, but others are catching up…there is a lot to do,’ said Tomasz Jerzyniak, Policy Officer at DG Enterprise and Industry.

The study is in the process of final validation, and will be available in January 2013.


The study was developed under the INNO-GRIPS II programme in the context of the European Commission’s PRO-INNO Europe initiative, and is the fourth out of six studies of relevance to innovation policy making.

The key objective of INNO-GRIPS II is to provide intelligence to support policy makers in adopting appropriate policy responses to emerging innovation needs, trends and phenomena. It analyses framework conditions, barriers and drivers to innovation and innovation policy and offers intelligence on international developments in these fields. The project is coordinated by the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) and financed by the PRO-INNO programme of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise & Industry.

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