R&D collaboration networks in the European Framework Programmes: Data processing, network construction and selected results

Thomas Roediger-Schluga & Michael J. Barber


We describe the construction of a large and novel data set on R&D collaboration networks in the first five EU Framework Programmes (FPs), examine key features and provide economic interpretations for our findings. The data set is based on publicly available raw data that pre-sents numerous challenges. We critically examine the different problems and detail how we have dealt with them. We describe how we construct networks from the processed data. The resulting networks display properties typical for large complex networks, including scale-free degree distributions and the small-world property. The former indicates the presence of net-work hubs, which we identify. Theoretical work shows the latter to be beneficial for knowl-edge creation and diffusion. Structural features are remarkably similar across FPs, indicating similar network formation mechanisms despite changes in governance rules. Several findings point towards the existence of a stable core of interlinked actors since the early FPs with inte-gration increasing over time. This core consists mainly of universities and research organisa-tions. The paper concludes with an agenda for future research.

JEL Classification: L14, O38, Z13

Keywords: R&D collaboration, EU Framework Programmes, complex networks, small world effect, knowledge creation, knowledge diffusion, European Research Area

UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872