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Interviews with Companies in R&D-intensive Sectors

Semi-structured interviews with 60 European companies in R&D-intensive sectors were conducted to obtain information on the drivers and barriers to knowledge transfer and cooperation with universities and public research institutes.

The population of companies from which the sample was selected consisted of all European companies – EU member states plus non EU countries associated to the 7th Framework Program – included in the 2010 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard. The gross sample consisted of 120 companies, 96 from four R&D-intensive sectors (Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals, Technology Hardware and Equipment, Software and Computer Services and Automobiles and Parts) and 24 from all other sectors. Interviewees were managers in the area of R&D and university cooperation.

Interviews could be scheduled and conducted with 60 of the 65 companies which upfront had agreed to participate (50% of the sample). Interviewed companies are on average rather large with 83mEUR R&D expenditures and 7’000 employees in 2009. Only 8% of all interviewed firms were SMEs. All in all companies from 17 countries were interviewed.

Average interview duration was 45 minutes. All interviews were recorded and fully transcribed, except for one which was of extremely poor quality and not processed further. The resulting 59 transcripts were sent back to the interviewees with a request for validation and authorisation to which roughly two third replied. All interview transcripts were then uploaded into software for qualitative data analysis (Atlas.ti) and coded by two senior team members. The results of the analysis are included in the final report.