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Core competences in Danish private sector R&D and their economic importance

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This report presents the key results from a mapping of core competences in Danish private sector R&D commissioned by the Danish Agency of Science, Technology and Innovation.
: Jul 05, 2013

The top ten of the 102 core competences in Danish private sector R&D is dominated by life science.

In total, Danish industry has had an above average impact compared to other countries in 102 (21 percent) of the 486 research areas examined using publication and patent data from the past decade.

56 of the 102 core competences have been identified based on publication data; the remaining 46 were identified using patent data.

The 102 core R&D competences represent the research areas in which Danish private R&D has showed exceptional performance compared to other OECD countries. The top ten R&D core competences are dominated by life science related research topics, but information and communication technology and classical engineering fields are also represented.

Large firms dominate core competences.

The analysis indicates that large international firms contribute to a disproportionate number of core competences. This indicates that large firms are key drivers in leading-edge research areas in Danish industry.

Core R&D competences are based on contribution from firms from several sectors, and are not linked to a specific industry.

The analysis of different industry sectors contributions
to core competences in private sector R&D reveals that firms from several sectors often contribute to the same core competences. It is possible that knowledge produced in different industry sectors is applied to address different scientific and technical problems within the same research area.

Companies that hold a business stronghold and/or a core R&D competence are not necessarily similar.

The characteristics of the firms that hold a business stronghold are not necessarily the same as the factors that distinguish firms that contribute to core R&D competences. The differences lies in the fundamental basis of a business stronghold as compared to a core R&D competence. The fundamentals for having a business stronghold are related to how the factors that support the productivity of a firm or industry sector are influenced by society and the surrounding world. As stated above, these factors are not necessarily the same for firms and sectors holding a core R&D competence. For core R&D competences, three factors dominate the picture: the scientific research agenda, competition in the research  arena, and scientific traditions within the research area.

Companies that contribute to core competences in R&D are behind 25 pct. of the total export.

The companies that contribute to core competences in R&D represent less than one percent of the total number of companies in Denmark. They account, however, for a sizeable amount of the activities in the Danish private sector, or 6 percent of all employees, 13 percent of total revenue, and 25 percent of total exports.

Companies that contribute to core competences in R&D have a higher productivity.

Productivity in companies that contribute to a core competence in R&D is almost 30 percent higher than in other companies. The differences in productivity levels may be due to differences in underlying, company-specific characteristics. Companies that contribute to core competences in R&D are generally larger and more internationally oriented, and their employees have a higher level of education; these are all factors that are known from economic theory to affect productivity positively.

Companies that contribute to core competences in R&D are more R&D active

The companies that contribute to knowledge strongholds are not surprisingly more R&D active than other companies. To a larger extent, they have their own, in-house R&D departments.
Moreover, more than 10 percent of their employees work with R&D. By comparison, the corresponding proportion of employees in other companies is less than 5 percent.

last modified Jul 11, 2013