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R4: Peer-to-peer collaborations


The R4 – Peer-to-peer collaborations, indicator measures how many collaborations are developed by AI players from each geographical area (or Member State) by type of R&D activity: patent applications, frontier research publications and, when analysing the EU, EC-funded projects. The indicator further distinguishes between collaborations according to the profile of the players involved. The collaborating players are therefore classified according to their organisation type (firms, governmental institutions and research institutes) and according to their location (local or abroad). This enables us to distinguish between the following types of most relevant collaborations:

  • B2B abroad, which indicates business players (i.e., firms) located in the considered geographical area and collaborating with other business players located abroad (i.e., not in the same geographical area),
  • B2B local, which indicates that business players located in a specific geographical area collaborate with business players located in the same geographical area,
  • B2R local, which indicates that business players located in a specific geographical area collaborate with research institutes that are located in the same geographical area,
  • G2B local, which indicates that the governmental institutions of that geographical area are collaborating with business players in the same geographical area,
  • R2R abroad, which indicates that research institutes located in that geographical area collaborate with research institutes located abroad,
  • R2R local, which indicates that research institutes located in that geographical area collaborate with research institutes located in the same geographical area.
  • The remaining forms of possible collaborations are summarised in the category Other.


In these figures the composition of peer-to-peer collaborations is presented by geographical area. As expected, for scientific publications, the predominant AI players are research institutes (R2R abroad and R2R local, in the plot on top). For all the geographical areas except South Korea the main type of collaboration in the scientific publication context is R2R abroad. This is highly relevant, as a higher number of interactions in research implies a higher degree of information exchange. South Korea is the only country to show a modest share of B2B abroad collaborations. In addition, South Korea and the US are the only areas with a considerable share of B2R local. This is a key type of interaction, as it demonstrates local connections between the actors in research (i.e., research institutes) and the private sector (i.e., firms) and is an important channel of knowledge transfer between research and industry

When looking at collaborations in patenting activities, the most important type of player are businesses, given that patenting activity is usually led by firms. Indeed, in most geographical areas the largest percentage of collaborations is detected between local firms and firms located abroad (B2B abroad). In second position are the collaborations involving local firms (B2B local), in particular in Asian economies such as China, Japan, South Korea and India, but also in Canada. Nonetheless, it is interesting to observe that a substantial number of patents filed by more than one party (and that therefore imply some collaboration) are developed outside the borders of the corresponding geographical area. This is especially the case for the US, Oceania, the EU and Canada, while China and South Korea appear to be more oriented towards developing patents among local partners.

The European Union

In this set of graphs, the indicator R5 is analysed for EU Member States.

For EC-funded projects (top graph), the most important types of interaction are R2R abroad and B2B abroad. Therefore, as expected, EC-funded projects substantially promote cooperation between players in different Member States, and they support in a very balanced way both interactions between firms from different countries and between research institutes from different countries.

If we focus on scientific publications (middle graph), it is possible to note that research institutes collaborating with research institutes from another country (R2R abroad) is the main type of collaboration established. In some cases, a considerable percentage of collaborations take place between research institutes in the same country (R2R local). This is the case for Greece, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Austria, and, to a lesser extent, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland and France.

The last graph (bottom graph) shows that patent applications are filed mainly by firms in collaboration with other firms (B2B abroad and B2B local). The exceptions are Denmark and Czechia, where the largest percentage of collaborations are developed by combinations of players which are different from those already considered and so are included under the Other category. Countries for which there are bars are those in which no cooperation is taking place in patent activities, which is the case for Slovakia, Portugal, Malta, Luxembourg, Greece, Croatia and Bulgaria. It is important to note that the number of collaborations is lower than for the previous types of R&D activities, because most patent applications are filed by a single player.



Factsheet1 February 2022
R4: Peer-to-peer collaborations