Which countries take the gold in the research winter games?
In this year’s Winter Olympics, Germany took home 6 medals in luge events, South Koreans dominated short track, and American and Canadian snowboarders were frequently seen on top of the medal podium. This is not surprising given the long standing dominance of these countries in those events, but Olympic sports are not the only pursuit where this type of national specialization occurs.
Business leaders know well the benefits and impact of country-of-origin on market perception, but did you realize that same country-specialization phenomenon often occurs in scientific research? Such focus may emerge for a variety of reasons; however, a number of driving factors are often present.
Driving factors influencing national research focus
- Economy and government play a key role in the overall level of research investment and also impact research focus, as primary export goods, economic incentives and key industries strongly influence investment.
- Geography and climate can be contributing factors to investment focus depending on the impact of their influence on national interests and population well-being.
- Natural resources relate strongly to exports and economy, but they may also drive conservation-related research as countries work to better understand the need to protect natural treasures within their borders.
- History and culture drive national identity, and associated research seeks to better understand culture-related science. After all, you would expect more tulip pollinization research in the Netherlands than anywhere else in the world.
How can understanding local research specialization enhance your global business strategy?
Though globalization has been a business buzzword for the last decade, as Quelch and Jocz argue in their book All Business Is Local: Why Place Matters More Than Ever in a Global, Virtual World there is significant evidence that all business is still really local and place is a key factor impacting business strategy. Thus, identifying and understanding these hidden pockets of localized specialization offers an advantage to modern research organizations.
Seeking new markets? Looking for potential partners or toll producers? Trying to identify the best location for your new specialty materials facility? Concerned about emerging competitors? Worried about sourcing the talent pool needed to support a new research initiative? Understanding regional research specialization trends yields new insights to advise a wide range of strategy decisions.
At CAS our scientists and technologists monitor research endeavors worldwide, identifying trends and opportunities for business leaders and innovators. So what does a detailed country-by-country analysis of patent data over the past 5 years reveal when it comes to specialists leading the race for discovery and intellectual property? Take an international tour of the IP landscape to explore who is leading the way in key fields and why by downloading our latest infographic.
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