By Joanna Chataway & Joyce Tait
We are now familiar with the idea of pre-competitive collaboration amongst firms. The idea is that there are areas of basic science, research and technology where firms, in many cases together with public sector researchers, benefit from investing jointly and sharing the outputs of work. The research is early stage and it would be wasteful for public and private sectors to carry out discrete research programmes, duplicating effort and not sharing results. There is much debate about how pre-competitive research should best be carried out in different areas of science and technology, but the concept is firmly rooted in current R&D practice and policy.