ESPRIT: Europe's Response to US and Japanese Domination in Information Technology
Established in 1983, the European Strategic Program for Research in Information Technologies (ESPRIT) is the oldest of the European Commission's research and technology development (RTD) programmes. ESPRIT came into being as a result of the fear that Europe was lagging far behind the United States and Japan in vital information technologies. Collaboration, rather than competition, among Europe's IT companies, it was imagined would yield synergies, the flexibility to adapt in volatile markets, and the shorter product cycles essential for international competitiveness. The chapter explores the significance of external linkages for innovation in ESPRIT in the light of the reality of collaboration. Empirical data focus on ten ESPRIT projects, examined as case studies. Particular attention is given to the informal networks that link members of the ESPRIT projects to the most dynamic parts of the IT world in the United States and beyond.
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