3 - Production and commercialisation processes

3.2 - Outsourcing companies’ R&D&i activities


Outsourcing is a strategy which is increasingly widely used by companies to obtain the resources and expertise they lack. It is often seen as an interesting alternative in the management of organisations from both a technical and economic perspective, since it has been found that it is far more viable for companies to outsource all or part of R&D&i and contract a University to establish a long-term strategic partnership.


Deutsche Telekom T-Labs in the Berlin Technical University

The German company Deutsche Telekom has signed a collaboration agreement with the Technical University of Berlin for the creation of T-Labs on university premises. The laboratories focus on user-oriented applied research and technological innovation. They have an annual budget of around €50 million and employ 400 people, combining staff members from both the University and the Company itself. T-Labs are part of a strategy developed by Deutsche Telekom to outsource a large part of the company’s R&D and are a true milestone in terms of their size, scope and the achievements attained since their foundation in 2005. One of the key elements in this approach is that the company gives facilities for employees to develop their professional careers in R&D&i, whether within the university environment or on an individual basis, and either working as employees or as independent contractors. The laboratories focus their activities on creating the vision and strategy for technological innovation, but do not however participate in the implementation phase. Furthermore, the structure of the organisation provides an ideal environment for cooperation between the Company and the University. In this way, the programmes offered by the university departments are specifically adapted to the lines of investigation developed by the T-Labs.

 The EICT partnership network

The EICT is an innovation centre which was founded as a public-private partnership by five organisations: Deutsche Telekom, Siemens, DaimlerChrysler, the Fraunhofer Society and the Technical University of Berlin. It basically operates as a platform for the transfer of Innovation and has integrated its R&D expertise into a long-term association which focuses on the entire value creation process. The result is a European platform for the rapid transfer of Innovation.

Proceso de implementación

Agents involved in implementation

This recommendation would be suitable for large companies interested in developing a closer collaborative relationship with Universities. Some aspects could also be implemented by SMEs.

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