Studies on the Japanese Innovation System

Fiscal 2002 Survey on Business-Academia Collaboration Regarding Innovation System (Updated on May 8, 2003)

This report provides the results of a survey conducted in 2002 on the state of Japanese companies' collaboration with external partners - particularly universities - in research and development activities.

Outline of Survey

  1. Survey samples: Companies in the manufacturing, wholesale and certain service industries, with 50 or more employees and capital of 30 million yen or more, which are engaged in R&D activities (7,442 companies).
  2. Valid responses: 802 companies (Ratio of respondents: 10.8 %).
  3. Due to the low response rate, a follow-up survey was conducted over the phone on 100 companies randomly selected from the non-respondents. Since 17% of those subjected to the follow-up survey were not conducting R&D activities (and thus should have been excluded from the original survey population), the adjusted response ratio comes to around 13%. The follow-up survey results were also utilized in interpreting the overall results (taking into consideration the statistical bias due to the presence of non-respondents).

Key points of findings

  1. Some 70% of the companies undertaking R&D activities are engaged in collaboration with external partners; 40% with universities.
  2. Compared with the situation five years ago, business-academia collaboration has expanded due to the notably greater participation of small and midsize firms. Many companies cite universities as potential collaboration partners in the future.
  3. Overlapping research, such as happens with joint research projects, is the most popular form of collaboration, while there are not many cases of technology transfer-type collaboration, such as those involving patent utilization and technology implementation.
  4. As to the goals of business-academia collaboration, only a few companies cited contribution to sales and profits. Instead, many companies regard such collaboration as a means to absorb specialized knowledge and improve their technology potential.
  5. Japanese universities lag behind their overseas counterparts in creating "business-like relationships" with companies.


Office for Quantitative Analysis and Databases, RIETI
MOTOHASHI Kazuyuki (