SME Participation in Research Grant Consortia: The Emergence of Coordinated Attention in Collaborative Innovation

Christoph Grimpe*, Wolfgang Sofka, Andreas Philipp Distel

*Corresponding author for this work

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Research funding organizations routinely encourage SMEs to collaborate with organizations of different institutional backgrounds, such as other firms, universities, or research organizations. These collaborations are supposed to involve SMEs in knowledge flows across boundaries and generate innovative solutions to complex problems. However, we know little about how the project partners determine the priorities of their joint research in the first place and how the institutional composition influences priority setting. In this paper, we study attention coordination among SMEs and their partners for the emergence of priorities in joint research grant proposals. Applying content analysis to 207 grant proposals of innovation consortia that have received funding in the EU’s Horizon 2020 program, we find that increasingly diverse consortia shift attention away from technological novelty and market creation towards more consideration for the innovation ecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1567-1592
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Published online: 2 December 2021.


  • SME
  • Collaborative innovation
  • Innovation consortia
  • Grant proposal
  • Coordination
  • Attention-based view

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