Centers for Environmental-friendly Energy Research - Participation benefits linked to size of company
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The Centres for Environmental-friendly Energy Research (CEER/FME) have been created as a means to push innovation within the field. This is a collaboration between the Research Council of Norway, researchers and industry partners lasting for five plus 3 years. The midterm evaluations have been performed, and with the data from the corporate partner self-evaluation, a secondary analysis has been made. The partners were categorized into SME and large companies to analyze how they benefit differently. The analyzed data was mainly quantitative, accompanied by one qualitative question to give a bit depth to the differences. From the data one could not only see how SMEs seemed to create significantly more innovations, but that they did so with almost the same level of interaction. This was again linked to a smaller company s higher likeliness to change their strategy. Looking into the qualitative answers, it became clear that larger companies had other motivation and expectations towards the centres in the first place. A high degree of motivation lied in the networking and building external competencies, which can also explain some of the lower quantitative ratings indicating innovation. Another reason could be a longer time perspective, and it is therefore suggested as further research to do an evaluation of the companies at a later stage. Both categories gave low score for usefulness of research and suggested more interaction and more applicable research to be performed in the next period. This is explained by Vie s (2012) evaluation of the centres placement in terms of Mode1 and Mode2 research. The research centres have a fundamental separation between academics and user partners that might lead to higher quality research, but also a knowledge gap. For the research to reach its potential in applicability, closer interaction between academia and user partners is necessary.