Inter-firm collaboration


Share of firms involved in collaboration in innovation related activities

Unit of observation

Enterprises, or: organisations

Reporting unit

Senior managers responsible for R&D (in smaller organisations: owners or general managers)


Survey question (from Community Innovation Survey): “During the reference period, did your enterprise co-operate on any of your innovation activities with other enterprises or institutions? [IF YES] Please indicate the type of co-operation partner and location (Your country; other Europe; United States; all other countries)

  • Other enterprises within your enterprise group
  • Suppliers of equipment, materials, components, or software
  • Clients or customers
  • Competitors or other enterprises in your sector
  • consultants, commercial labs, or private R&D institutes
  • universities or other higher education institutions
  • Government or public research institutes

Definition of “collaboration” adapted from Community Innovation Survey (CIS): “Collaboration means active participation in joint R&D and other innovation projects with other organisations (with other enterprises or non-commercial institutions). It does not necessarily imply that both partners derive immediate commercial benefit from the venture. Pure contracting out of work, where there is no active working together towards the same goal, is not regarded as collaboration.”

Complementary indicators

  • Share of firms involved in collaboration in other activities (not related to innovation)

Relation to existing indicators

Collaboration for innovation related activities is covered by the ECIS. A similar variable is included in the Special Eurobarometer “Innobarometer”.

Methodological issues concerning application of the indicator

The value of this indicator is limited by the fact that only firms that have confirmed innovative activities in the reference period are asked whether they have collaborated in this context.