It took quite a bit of work and involved reorganizing the data significantly. I went through all of the projects funded in this space so far, elicited each of the partners from the public documents, put them into the spreadsheets and classified them by organization type (Enterprise, Public Body, Higher Education or Non Profit Research Organization) and country.
The data does have some imperfections – I’m sure there are inconsistencies between how I classified partners in projects, eg I was not familiar with the organization and I may have classified it as Higher Education in one project and Non Profit Research Organization (NPRO) in another (there are a few of these organizations that are closely linked to universities, but it’s not clear if they are independent or not).
I may get around to doing a further pass on the data in an attempt to clean it up a bit, but at present, I think it’s good enough to perform a meaningful analysis: cleaning it up won’t significantly change the findings.
So, what can we learn from this data? I include the most interesting points here:
- Just under 50% of the organizations involved in the Future Networks areas are Enterprises and the remainder are a mix of Public Bodies, Higher Education Institutions and NPROs;
- Higher Education institutes account for almost 40% of the total;
- Germany and France had the highest number of participants with 15.4% and 14.8% respectively, although the overall participation rates differ significantly from the breakdown of co-ordinators. This was more or less expected as they lead the EU in terms of both population and GDP. However, the percentages are a bit less than DE and FR in terms of percentage EU GDP contribution and population percentage;
- Italy and UK featured significantly lower with 8.1% and 8.8% respectively – this reflected a lower involvement in the programme than would be expected from these countries given their populations and contribution to GDP;
- At 9.45%, Spain was more or less where it would be expected;
- There was relatively low engagement from the Eastern European countries, as would be expected;
- As with the analysis of the co-ordinators, Greece featured quite well with 5.4% of the participants.
What does the above tell us? It does raise questions relating to what the expected mix of participants under such a programme should be. As it is supposed to be a risky research activity (with funding rates consistent with this), it would be expected that universities and NPROs feature; however, if the objective is to ultimately map the funding to commercial activity and jobs, then enterprises must engage seriously. I think the numbers presented above do not show fundamental problems with the operation of the system in terms of organization breakdown at the highest level, although the data above does not address the issue of SME involvement.
It’s probably necessary to do a further breakdown of organizations by country – I suspect this might highlight some countries in which the primary participation is through Higher Education institutes or NPROs; if this is the case, it could validly be asked whether the funds are really having any impact in those countries relating to commercial activity.
I hope to do the above breakdown next and then I’ll shift the focus a little to the outputs of the projects.