European research collaboration has seen a huge rise – and deepening concentration

02 Jul 2024 | News

Regions collaborate more than ever, but excellence is becoming concentrated, which may be an issue in the long run

Photo credits: a_Jarm  / BigStock

Research collaboration is growing apace and shows no signs of stopping. According to the latest research and innovation data from the European Commission, the number of co-patents, joint publications and multinational EU projects, are all on the rise.

International co-patents, where two or more inventors are named, rose from 1,000 per year in 1980 to 100,000 in 2020. Around 70% of co-patenting activity is within regions, for reasons of language and proximity, and that has remained largely stable since 1980. What has changed is the number of multinational tie-ups, which increased in absolute and relative terms, from 3% to 10% of all co-patenting activities.

Meanwhile, the number of jointly authored papers increased by almost 30% from Framework Programme 6 in 2002 – 2006, to Horizon 2020, which ran…