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Pere Arqué, membre de l’IEB, Doctorat Europeu ‘cum laude’

Pere Arqué, awarded a European Doctorate ‘cum laude’ for his PhD thesis on the funding of R+D and innovation in businesses

Pere Arqué, member of the Barcelona Economics Institute (IEB), has been awarded the grade Excellent cum laude for his PhD thesis «Essays on the financing of R&D and innovation». The thesis comprises three empirical articles which study public and private alternatives for funding innovation in the business environment. The first two articles analyse the capacity of government grants to reduce the entry costs of R+D activities and to promote research among firms. The third article studies the impact of risk capital on firms’ research activities.

The thesis concludes that grants for R+D are particularly useful for promoting research activities. Specifically, it estimates that around 8% of Spanish manufacturing firms would need government aid to start R+D activities, but, once the research was underway, would be able to continue without state aid. The grants required to encourage these firms would have to be quite large, covering almost 70% of the firms’ R+D expenditure. Nonetheless, it appears that the costs deriving from encouraging these firms would be more than offset by the effects that they generate; the stock of R+D accumulated over time would triple the initial public expenditure. The third chapter finds that capital risk firms tend to invest in firms that have filed patents in the past in order to be able to exploit these patients commercially, but do not appear to promote innovation in companies after their initial investment.

The tribunal that evaluated the thesis was made up by Martí Parellada (University of Barcelona and IEB), Elena Huergo (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) and Georg Licht (Center for European Economic Research, ZEW). In addition to obtaining the grad of Excellent cum laude, the thesis also received a European Doctorate award, granted to theses written and presented in a language of the European Union that is not among the official languages of Spain, and which requires the candidate to have spent a study period abroad during the writing of the thesis.