Research & Innovation

Governments, enterprises and research organisations need to define research and innovation concepts to find solutions for pressing economic and societal challenges. empirica supports R&I actors through collecting and analysing representative data, organising events and developing recommendations for strategic action.

Knowledge transfer

Knowledge transfer is gaining momentum: Governments refine their KT policies; public research organisations strengthen their KT capacities; enterprises seek accessing public research in open innovation efforts. In this dynamic environment, empirica provides targeted consultancy for sophisticated strategies and operations.

The importance of research and innovation for economic growth and wellbeing in Europe is ever increasing. However, Europe is perceived as doing better at producing high-level knowledge than at converting it into socio-economic benefits. In addition to the classical modes of transfer and dissemination of knowledge, such as publications and exchange of researchers, universities and other public research organisations need to more actively engage in the exploitation of publicly-funded research results, for instance through joint research with industry, patenting, licensing and spin-offs. Furthermore, new forms of knowledge transfer are emerging and spreading across Europe, such as co-creation and online platforms for multi-stakeholder interaction.

empirica co-ordinated the Knowledge Transfer Study 2010 – 2012, a high-profile project on behalf of the European Commission’s General Directorate Research and Innovation. This study was a major effort to collect up-to-date data about KT in Europe in surveys of knowledge transfer offices, enterprises and governments. The study also carried out 15 workshops covering 38 countries of the European Research Area and attracting more than 500 experts for identifying current and emerging issues in knowledge transfer.

Following the Knowledge Transfer Study, DG RTD charged empirica to carry out research about knowledge transfer networks as well as co-operation of knowledge transfer offices and how both could be improved, which is an issue of Innovation Union commitment number 21.

Governments, public research organisations and enterprises need sound data and guidance in order to improve their knowledge transfer activities. empirica offers quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis in the field of knowledge transfer, leading to empirically-based recommendations for policymakers, knowledge transfer office directors and business managers.

Entrepreneurship

Europe needs to develop its genuine approach towards fostering new and growing businesses. This applies in particular to high-growth enterprises which contribute disproportionally large to job creation. empirica has sound expertise in policies for innovative ventures, especially from universities.

Only 20 years ago, there was little acknowledgement among European policymakers and researchers for the importance of entrepreneurship. Since then, the subject developed in a fabulous way. Today, fostering entrepreneurship is considered as a silver bullet towards competitiveness and job creation around the world. In particular, there is scientific evidence that high growth enterprises contribute decisively to job creation, innovation and economic growth. Their share in all enterprises is small, but the share of jobs they create is disproportionally large. In particular, knowledge-based start-ups are found to grow faster than other start-ups. Europe has performed relatively badly in generating HGIEs that quickly become global leaders. Thus, in recent years, policy makers in Europe have shown increased interest in fostering high-growth enterprises. However, there is still a lack of knowledge about their characteristics, the framework conditions under which they thrive, and policies that could possibly support their emergence and enable them to thrive.

Researchers at empirica dealt with entrepreneurship early on. Start-ups from universities are one of empirica’s specialties. In recent years, empirica conducted several international studies about high-growth innovative enterprises in particular. The clients were the European Commission’s General Directorates for Enterprise and Industry as well as Research and Innovation. These studies contributed to the understanding of this type of firms and how they could possibly be promoted. Researchers from empirica also moderated and presented about high-growth enterprises at the Commission’s annual Mutual Learning Seminars.

empirica has a long track record in managing large-scale enterprise surveys, conducting interviews with experts in the field of entrepreneurship as well as analysing and interpreting related data.

Business innovation

Enterprises need to continuously consider introducing new products, services, processes and inputs to stay competitive. Since the impacts of innovation are uncertain, thoughtful management and governmental policies are required. empirica’s special expertise is in e-business but goes far beyond.

A broad evolutionary development of electronic business has been taking place across the globe since the mid-1990s. This development, though not visibly revolutionary in character, has been very powerful in its impact, and the maturity of e-business has substantially increased across sectors and regions – so much that e-business today is not a special concept anymore but a ubiquitous phenomenon. Technological development and competitive pressure continue to be key drivers. While the search for opportunities to cut costs is still a valid motive for e-business activity, innovative firms exploit the potential of ICT for fulfilling key business objectives; they use ICT for producing and delivering quality goods and services, facilitating quality management as well as improving marketing and customer service.

empirica was one of the first companies in Europe to offer in-depth research and consulting services in the field of e-commerce – as it was named in early years – and e-business. From 2002 to 2010, empirica co-ordinated the groundbreaking e-Business Watch study on behalf of the European Commission’s General Directorate Enterprise and Industry. This pioneering study collected and analysed data about ICT use and e-business impact in more than 30 business sectors, including sectors as diverse as – to name just a few – food, steel, chemicals, electronics, energy supply, banking, retail, and tourism. The study analysed e-business with a multitude of methods, also including econometric methods and game theory analysis. Beyond the e-Business Watch, empirica carried out many other studies in the field of business innovation for national and international clients.

Managing large-scale enterprise surveys as well as case studies, analysing related data and formulating policy recommendations is thus one of empirica’s core expertises.

R&I systems and policy

Research and innovation take place in complex ecosystems. Effective and efficient R&I requires a sophisticated infrastructure, qualified researchers, thoughtful governmental policies and user involvement. empirica supports governments and enterprises in defining strategies and policies meeting their specific preconditions.

While the importance of research and technology development has long been recognised in policy, the focus of attention is increasingly shifting to innovation as the intended outcome of research activities. Key questions in this context are how to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of research and innovation (R&I) support programmes – notably in terms of the commercialisation of the results – and how to improve the framework conditions for innovation in general, i.e. creating an “innovation culture” within the R&I system. Increasingly, innovation is seen as a horizontal issue that is cross-cutting different policy domains, such as research, education, economic and infrastructure policy. These considerations are detailed in the European Commission’s Europe 2020 strategy and in the “Innovation Union” Communication. The Commission sees an “Innovation Union”, one of the seven flagships of the Europe 2020 Strategy, as key to achieving the goals of a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy set out in this vision.

empirica has a deep understanding of R&I systems and policies, gained in many years of research about different fields of technological innovation. empirica provides research and consulting services for analysing a broad area of issues related to R&I systems and policies. Our expertise is in quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis as well as organising and moderating expert workshops and conferences.

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