Evaluation of R&D activities in the maritime industry: Managing sustainability transitions through business model


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The maritime industry is always at the forefront of knowledge and new technology. In recent years, the companies have used large resources in research and development (R&D) towards environmentally friendly technology. At the same time, there exist many issues around this: are those companies enough good at the utilizing of R&D fonds, i.e., do they put new technology together with solutions that are best adapted to the customer requirements (export-oriented), on the one hand, and are they efficient and sustainable, on another hand? Hence, the current paper aims to study how the R&D costs contribute to value creation and sustainable transition in the maritime industry. To achieve this goal, R&D activities in the maritime industry were analyzed using correlation and linear regression analyses between 2010 and 2019. The results show that those indicators that have the greatest positive impact on value-added are R&D expenditures in the business enterprise sector and turnover from product innovations. Also, it was revealed that there is a negative impact of trade indicators on value creation. In addition, the study proves that R&D activities are contributing to the sustainable transition of the maritime industry. Overall, it was concluded that without sufficient public support, strategy, and new business models, export-oriented industries benefit less from innovation.

The study is supported by a grant from the Research Based Innovation “SFI Marine Operation in Virtual Environment (SFI-MOVE)” (Project no: 237929) in Norway.

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    • Figure 1. Organizational perspective on innovation in the maritime industry
    • Figure 2. GERD as a share of GDP for selected countries, 1997–2018
    • Figure 3. R&D expenditure in the building of ships as a share of total BERD, 2009–2017
    • Figure 4. Relation between BERD as a proportion of GERD and BERD in Shipbuilding industry as a proportion of total BERD
    • Figure 5. Funding of BERD in Building of ships and boats, % of total funding
    • Figure 6. Structure of business enterprise R&D expenditure by industry, 2019
    • Figure 7. Correlation between product innovators’ turnover and R&D expenditures by industry, 2013–2018
    • Table 1. Number of applicants with funding in 2020 by instrument actor
    • Table 2. R&D expenditure by performing sector and a total number of R&D man-years in 2015, 2016, and 2017, mill. kroner and percentage change (current prices)
    • Table 3. Correlation between CO2 emissions and investigated parameters of the model, 2010–2019
    • Table 4. Comparison growth-rate analysis of R&D expenditure by performing industry, percentage change (compare to other industries)
    • Table 5. Regression analysis results for lnVAt
    • Conceptualization
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    • Formal Analysis
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