A bit of basic, a bit of applied? R&D strategies and firm performance

Alex Coad*, Agustí Segarra-Blasco, Mercedes Teruel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Most studies analysing the relationship between R&D and firm growth focus on total R&D investment. This paper aims to analyse separately each component of R&D investment (basic research, applied research and technological development) and evaluate how these types of R&D investment are related to firm growth. Using a sample of 3972 Spanish manufacturing firms during 2004–2015, our empirical results are the following. First, firms have heterogeneous R&D strategies. The common wisdom that young firms invest in basic research, while old firms invest in applied research, is not supported in our data. Second, we investigate the characteristics and dynamics of firms with different R&D strategies. We observe complementarities between applied research and technological development due to their positive associations with firm growth. Finally, our results show that there is a tendency for firms to transition from basic research to applied research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1758-1783
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Technology Transfer
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec


  • Applied research
  • Basic research
  • Complementarity
  • Firm growth
  • Linear model
  • R&D
  • Technological development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Accounting
  • Engineering(all)


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