Cultural differences hamper transnational research co-operation

Stakeholder consultation reveals three major obstacles for transnational research collaboration: cultural and regulatory differences and difficulties in finding partners.

A Commission stakeholder consultation indicates that both the public- and private-sector actors find transnational collaboration of interest only if it is part of a long-term, structural alliance. Short-term co-operation is judged unattractive and complicated due to difficulties in finding partners and cultural (including language) and legal differences between member states.

The draft report, published on 1 September 2006, on stakeholders’ views on the existing knowledge-transfer systems and current legal situation regarding transnational research co-operation states that “the differences between existing legal frameworks have a strong disincentive effect on transnational collaboration”. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) ownership regimes and joint-ownership issues were judged particulary difficult and “a large proportion of the responses” called for urgent action regarding the Community Patent.

Following the consultation, the Commission is set to develop a communication on ways to foster and facilitate co-operation between industry and public-research organisations and knowledge transfer in Europe. 

The EU wants to increase pan-European co-operation and co-ordination of national research activities and create a genuine ‘internal market’ for European research, a European Research Area (ERA), by 2010.

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