High-Level Skills, Knowledge Transfer and Industrial Competitiveness in Britain and France
(Theme 2: Human Resources/Labour Market issues in European S&T;)

Geoff Mason


Growing competition in many product markets, combined with the remarkable speed of developments in science and technology in recent years, has hastened the development of 'information-intensive' manufacturing in advanced industrial countries. Many enterprises now have to devote increased resources to gathering information on both the specialist needs of customers and the technical possibilities of meeting such needs.

In consequence, policy-makers now have a keen interest in promoting the two-way flow of knowledge between enterprises and the science base (universities, independent research institutes, consultancies, etc). This project seeks to shed further light on the links between national higher education systems, knowledge transfer activities and industrial competitiveness through a detailed comparison of matched samples of electronics production and research establishments in Britain and France.

Particular attention will be paid to Anglo-French differences in:

  • The extent to which intermediate research institutes and other similar types of organisation serve as 'training grounds' for university engineering and science students, complementing their academic education with substantive industrial experience
  • The extent of two-way flows of individual researchers between industry and the academic science base, as prime 'carriers' of the contacts, ideas and tacit knowledge which are increasingly pre-requisites for enterprises to be able to take advantage of diverse kinds of knowledge generated elsewhere

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