Actors Landscape, Community Composition and the Connection to the EU-Level

Before proceeding with a detailed composition analysis, we note that the number of projects increases with time. As depicted in Table 1, the number of projects over the FP2 to FP5 time frame was nearly stable, ranging between 13 (FP3) and 38 (FP4), it increased drastically, with 72 projects in FP6 and 115 projects in FP7. The number of participants varies nearly exactly with the number of projects, achieving a nearly stable number of partners per project that ranges between 2.6 and 4.1.

Figure 12 depicts the invention community composition per FP. The three main organizational types are IND (industry), EDU (education and science facilities) and ROR (research organizations). The industrial share grew from between about 50 and 60 % from FP2 to FP6. In FP7 a decrease to 38 % is seen. In combination with the development of the EDU and ROR shares—which in almost all FPs depict the complementary share to reach 100 %—this confirms our hypothesis that, due to the increased satellite and space topics, the share of organizations intensely focused on scientific knowledge would rise.

The graphical representation in Fig. 13 of the actor network shows the centers of the German aerospace invention community. Again as on the European level the circles give information about the number of participants in the respective region and the lines representing the connection between two regions. The thicker the line, the higher is the amount of connections. With the exception of FP4, the Munich area can be seen as the center. Other active regions are Braunschweig (EDU and ROR), Cologne (ROR), Frankfurt (IND and EDU), and later (FP6 and FP7) Bremen (IND and EDU) and Berlin (IND, EDU and ROR) and slightly Stuttgart (EDU and ROR). Beside these more or less dominant regions, several other and varying (with respect to the spatial distribution) regions participate, indicating the strongly fragmented German aerospace industry.

An interesting fact is that only about 38 % of all organizations in the German FOrderkatalog are also participants in one or more of the EU FPs. On the one hand, this supports the importance of connecting European invention communities with national invention communities, to get a clear picture of how development is to be evaluated.[1] On the other hand, it suggests that it might be easier to apply for nationally funded projects than those funded at the European level.

Organizational composition of the German funded projects

Fig. 12 Organizational composition of the German funded projects

In general, based on Fig. 14, regions that participate more often in their national programs also more frequently participate in European funded projects. The number of participants engaged in funded projects on the national and international level is quite low. The reason can be provided with the help of Fig. 15. There are numerous organizations of all sizes only participating in one project, indicating that there are many “industry-foreign” participants in aerospace projects in the German FK.

Especially in Germany the average share of SMEs is quite high, about 90 % (2007), where this group delivered a purchasing volume of about 30% (ECORYS 2009, p.150). Compared to France with an average amount of 65 % SME with a purchasing volume of 25 % (ECORYS 2009, p. 150), the German aerospace industry has the highest SME fraction within Europe. The reasons can be seen in several factors: On the one hand, the national peculiarities outside the aerospace industry, like infrastructure, specific federalist funding systems, but also cultural and social factors. On the other hand, an aerospace-internal explanation might be that the consolidation in France is more sophisticated up to now.

Even if the aeronautic projects from a knowledge base point of view are underrepresented, due to the strong space and satellite (SAT) topics Germany might have an advantage concerning the spillover potential, since lots of spillovers have been directed from space to aeronautic and then to other industries, e.g. to automotive. Here the comparison to the EU level (thematic-geographic) might be

The German aerospace R&D collaboration network

Fig. 13 The German aerospace R&D collaboration network

useful. If there are other competences specialized within German regions, the argument loses its credibility. If especially space and satellite knowledge is prevalent the argument is to be favored.[2]

Number of FP and FK participations in German regions

Fig. 14 Number of FP and FK participations in German regions. Not shown are the results for those regions which only take part in FP projects, without participating in FK-indexed projects; these are DE22 Niederbayern (208 projects), DE40 Brandenburg (82 projects), DE72 GieBen (146 projects), DEB1 Koblenz (366 projects), and DEE2 Halle (4 projects). No regions had FK participations without FP participation

Company size versus project participation

Fig. 15 Company size versus project participation

  • [1] To gain an even more substantial picture, the regional funded projects by local governmentscould also be considered, as it might be the main source of the internal R&D operations andnon-funded projects with partners.
  • [2] This argument is not derogated by the minor aeronautic projects, since the argument that SMEs(which are mostly responsible for the technological development in the space industry) participatemore often in nationally funded projects, due to easier access to the national projects and a lowercapacity to participate on the national and the European level.
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