International collaboration in advanced technology : the case of the European communication satellite programme
Governments have funded the development and production of advanced technology in order to establish supply security and/or to achieve economic growth. The policy of government funding includes three alternatives: the two basic options of maintaining a national project or participating in international collaboration involving a number of sovereign states, and the third option of doing both in parallel. The study examines international collaboration in such a way as to assist in the selection of the appropriate policy option. Particular attention is paid to the perspective of small and large, advanced and less advanced European countries. The research problem is addressed by focusing exclusively on those results which distinguish international collaboration from a national project, summarised under the concepts of collaborative sharing and collaborative efficiency. The former identifies the sharing of funding and technology not to be found in a national project. The latter identifies the difference in efficiency between international collaboration and a national project. Efficiency, indicated by cost, quality and time, is examined under the headings of policy-making, executive management, industrial rationalisation and production volume. Furthermore, collaborative sharing and efficiency are examined in the context of parallel national projects. This focus on the differences between the policy options provides the basis for selecting the appropriate one. Previous studies fail to give convincing answers to the research problem: they concentrate on collaborative efficiency while neglecting collaborative sharing, and they disagree over whether international collaboration or a national project is more efficient. This study attempts to overcome these shortcomings by examining a major case study of international collaboration, namely the European Communication Satellite Programme. The following conclusions are established. To achieve supply security, the collaborative option is considered appropriate for the large, advanced European country, and the parallel option for the large, less advanced countries. To achieve economic growth, the national option is appropriate for the advanced European countries. The smaller, less advanced countries are seen to play only a limited role in government funding of advanced technology.