Research, development and innovation (RD&I) activities represent an opportunity for companies to improve their competitiveness. There are various approaches that companies may take in pursuing RD&I activities. Either they use the external resources of other enterprises and outsource such activities entirely, or they allocate resources to pursue their own research, development and innovation activity. Companies pursue RD&I activity through their own employees or they even set up dedicated departments specialising in RD&I activity. To what extent do industrial companies active in the Czech Republic pursue RD&I activity using their own employees? Do such organisations have dedicated departments or, as the case may be, dedicated employees focusing on RD&I activity?
The Institute for Evaluations and Social Analyses (INESAN) conducted a survey in November 2014 with a focus on the practice in organisations pursuing RD&I in the Czech Republic. The principal objective of the project was to evaluate the current state of RD&I in industrial companies and identify the planned use of RD&I in the future. The CATI technique was used to conduct interviews with the representatives of the individual organisations selected by means of stratified random sampling from a database of industrial companies in the Czech Republic. The survey focused on organisations with a dedicated employee or employee team focusing on RD&I; in total, there were 168 companies
Of the industrial companies that pursue their own RD&I activity, 73% have a dedicated department and 27% have at least one dedicated employee focusing on RD&I activity. The size of the organisation is a statistically important differentiating factor in whether an organisation has a dedicated employee or a dedicated department focusing on RD&I activity: a dedicated RD&I department was the most frequent with large organisations (83%) and the least common with small organisations (32%). An organisation’s in-house RD&I activity has a positive effect on the number of registered RD&I outputs over the last five years and on the development of cooperation.
Sufficient human resources play a role primarily in terms of the quantity of the organisation’s RD&I output. The analysis shows that the larger the RD&I resources, the greater the number of results achieved. The companies that had a dedicated employee but not a dedicated RD&I department did not post any result in the last five years more frequently (62%) than the companies that had such a department (34%). Companies with a dedicated department (44%) were more frequent among those that put out more than 5 RD&I results than companies without such a department (11 %).
The availability of a dedicated department allows for broader cooperation with other entities. Companies with a dedicated department (87%) collaborate with universities more often than those that only have a dedicated RD&I employee (44%). They also collaborate more often with public research institutions (53% as opposed to 38%), with private research institutions (49% as opposed to 35%) and also with other private businesses (86% as opposed to 74%).
Graph: Companies with dedicated RD&I development by total number of employees
The analysis shows that, more often than not, having a dedicated department focusing solely on RD&I is a privilege of large companies. The results indicate that the availability of an in-house RD&I department influences the quantity of the registered RD&I results and is also related to the opportunity of cooperating with other entities. This means both the development of collaboration with various types of entities and the option of outsourcing research and development. Outsourcing is an option that is often used even by companies that have their own RD&I capabilities. It is possible to infer that the growth of the research background in companies will influence the development of collaboration. There are however differences depending on size, showing that small enterprises have an unfavourable position and can face difficulties joining the networks and benefiting from the advantages that such collaboration brings.