9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN24 Science and Technology

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Dynamics of Research Networks and Collaboration Building AA, AA.223

International joint laboratories, an emerging feature in the internationalisation of public sector research

This paper analyses the emergence of public sector international joint laboratories as an increasingly important new phenomenon in the internationalisation of public sector research. Over the past decades national governments and research organisations increasingly fund the establishment of research laboratories in a foreign country. As French and German research organisations have been most active in the establishment of such organisations they receive most attention but these actitivities are compared with the joint labs established by other European, North American and Asian (Pacific) research organisations.
The main questions the paper aims to answer are what are the different institutional and organisational forms in which international joint laboratories have been established in the past decade? What are the organisational goals for doing so? And to what extent are the expectations being met?
When discussing so-called international joint laboratories it is important not to start with a narrow operational definition and to realise that this group of sub-organisations is very heterogeneous in terms of size, physical and juridical set up. The paper will account for this diversity by means of a typology of international joint laboratories which are grouped according to these three dimensions. The paper continues by providing an overview of the frequency with which new organisations are established and the countries in which most of these organisations are set up over the last decade. Finally it discusses the results of a survey of the directors of these joint laboratories (N=110) as well as interviews with the managers in charge of international relations in major (European) research funding and performing organisations.
The phenomenon is of interest not only because it is an important element of the internationalisation strategy of some of the major European research organisations, but also because it has become a prominent feature of the internationalisation of the research systems of countries like China. The phenomenon is expected to become more prominent in other Western and large emerging research systems as well.