Evaluierung der Austrian Cooperative Research (ACR) 2020-2022

Publication date: 5 February 2024 | Report language: DE

Technopolis has evaluated the Austrian Cooperative Research (ACR), a network of private, non-profit research institutes supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in innovation and digitalisation. The evaluation, commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy (BMAW), focuses on the impact of ACR in the period 2020-2022 and provides recommendations for future funding strategies.

We found that ACR does indeed play an important role in Austria’s National Innovation System (NIS), working closely with SMEs to build and share relevant knowledge through joint projects and providing not-for-profit services, financed by public funds. The main activities include testing, inspection, certification, research-related tasks, knowledge and technology transfer. However, they are heterogeneous, so we have introduced a categorisation into four groups based on their role in the NIS, varying in size and revenue generation. We also demonstrated a more modern way of dealing with monitoring data by applying partially automated data analysis, which allows us to identify regularities and conspicuous facts in the data through pattern recognition using machine learning algorithms. Finally, colleagues in Germany provided insights into the particularities of this rather small but efficient network by comparing it with the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations – AiF.

Given the overall context, the main impact is rather a better understanding of the role of ACR in the innovation system, thanks to new perspectives and a lively discussion with high-level stakeholders from the Ministry during the validation workshop.