The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 364–378 | Cite as

Location choices within global innovation networks: the case of Europe



Rapid growth in internationalization of corporate R&D has spurred considerable interest since the 1990s. Foreign R&D is still mainly driven by the expansion of international production, but technology sourcing has become an increasingly important driver of dispersion. Actually, differences across sectors and companies tend to obscure the mix of motivations behind the development of global innovation networks. This paper distinguishes the various drivers of the international dispersion of corporate R&D in order to elaborate a typology of foreign R&D units, including in emerging countries. This typology is used to discuss the emergence of differentiated global innovation networks and the location choices by type of R&D unit. It is applied to foreign R&D projects in Europe in high and low cost countries between 2002 and 2005. It is then used to discuss the weakening attractiveness of the European Union for R&D activities and the relevant policies that countries can design to attract different types of units.


Globalization of R&D Location of R&D Multinationals Europe 

JEL Classification

F23 O32 



Fabrice Hatem gave me access to AFII foreign investment projects data base, which was used to build the FDI-RD base used in this paper. Edwige Chassagneux and Laetitia Zana contributed to the constitution of this data base during internships.

A previous version of this paper has been presented during a PRIME Workshop on ‘Globalisation of R&D: The Policy Dimension’ (Vienna, May 2005) and I thank the participants for their comments. I also thank the contributors to the conferences of the ANRT-IFRI program on Global Innovation Networks (, which I ran when writing this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Head of the Industrial R&D OfficeMinistry of Higher Education and ResearchParis Cedex 05France

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