Analysis of the evolution of the costs of research- trends, drivers and impacts
01 / 2009 - 12 / 2011
The costs of research consist of a set of distinct elements with different underlying dynamics which leads to a considerable degree of heterogeneity with respect to time, location and sector. In order to understand the development of the costs of research a number of factors have to be taken into account such as specific trends in research fields, changes in research objectives (balance between basic, applied, transformational, integrative research, time horizons, etc.) and changes in the organisation of research (e.g. centralized versus decentralized, closed versus open). The manifold characteristics as well as the different nature of the drivers of the costs of research pose specific challenges to be mastered. These include: Difference between locations, sectors, public, and private organisations, thereby taking into account the interdependency of cost drivers, the inputs and outputs of R&D and the relevant policy. These issues are addressed using an analytical framework which is able to analyse more thoroughly the reasons, interdependencies and dynamics of the development of research costs in different disciplines (science and technology fields) and organisations (public research organizations and private companies). A large quantitative survey with a standardised questionnaire and quantitative and qualitative data, empirically collected data and secondary data are all used within this project to answer the research questions. While the study has a clear focus of the development of the costs of research in Europe, the matter cannot be understood without considering its global dimension. Experts will cover the survey in the US and other non-European countries (e.g. China), and will contribute to the discussion of findings. In addition, we will include Top US companies in the case studies to better understand and compare the cost drivers. The assessment of the future development of the costs of research is another important task of this study. In order to address this question, the study employs a scenario methodology. Based on the different drivers identified within the analytical framework, the results of the survey and the cases studies, possible development paths or trajectories for the evolution of the costs of research will be designed and discussed. In addition, an Expert Group will be assembled which contributes to the validation of the framework and the debate on the further development and impacts of the research cots. The Expert Group will be a small working group of 6-8 high profile R&D experts and professionals with a deep knowledge and experience of the studied problematic. They will provide a window of opportunity to a wider extended network of advice and will be chosen collectively by the study team in coordination with the European Commission.