Open Transfer is a joint project of the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) and the Fraunhofer Center for Responsible Research and Innovation (CeRRI) to analyze shifts in the industry-science-relations in the context of R&D activities. The WZB team is project coordinator and is exploring the mobility sector, the CeRRI team is exploring the fields of microelectronics and optics.
The project addresses the widespread assumption that (a) digitization and the uncertainty of technological development is leading to a decrease in investment by private companies in basic research and (b) to a concomitant substitution by external cooperation with academic partners from public research institutions as well as start-ups, science industry centers, and innovation labs.
Our research examines the research, development, and innovation activities of private companies: How do they organize research and development (R&D) activities within the company and what kinds of knowledge do they seek from external sources in order to reinforce their position and to remain competitive in the global economy? What kind of far-reaching changes of content and forms of R&D-processes can be identified? What new methods can be created for sharing and transferring common knowledge to partners from the entrepreneurial and the academic fields? Are demarcation lines, like basic research, applied research, market-oriented research and development, still useful distinctive concepts for describing and analyzing entrepreneurial R&D activities?
Our empirical data is drawn from selectedcompanies in three sectors: mobility, microelectronics and optics. Company case studies in each sector entailsemi-structured expert interviews with the key actors from corporate strategy and corporate research (e.g. R&D-divisions). Additional interviews are being conducted with experts from cooperating public research institutes and from the research and innovation policy.