In order to win the R&D rat race companies adopt three supplementary strategies: higher R&D expenditures, open innovation (intensive co-operation with universities, technological institutes, start-ups) and gobalisation, driven by the availability in specific locations around the globe of know-how and qualified talent. Worldwide more and more companies face location choices for new R&D centers. BCI's Cost-Quality-Risk location decision methodology has proven to be a state-of-the-art decision support tool. In the well-known magazine Site Selection René Buck, CEO of Buck Consultants International, authored an article on how to make the right location decision for R&D centers.

Three types of location factors play a role: cost, quality of the business environment and risk factors.

Cost factors include personnel costs, building & lab costs and taxes. Typically, these are forecast for the next three to five years.

Quality of the business environment are factors which cannot directly be translated in currency, but do play an important role in running a successful R&D center. A lot of the factors are talent related: Can we find the right R&D personnel? How many specialized researchers study and graduate from the universities in the area? Are there many competing employers? Are top researchers around the world prepared to relocate to the candidate locations (quality of life, personal income taxes, visa’s, etc.)? A second group of quality factors refers to the open innovation strategy mentioned earlier: Can we co-operate with a university or tech institute in collaborative R&D programs? What is the scientific reputation of that university, and how do they work together with businesses? Is there a thriving start-up climate in our industry?

The third category is business disruption risks. Think about political risks (for example immigration and visa policies for expats) and legal risks (patent infringements, data protection, permitting), but also natural disaster risks or security risks. These three types of factors can be brought together in a Cost-Quality-Risk matrix.

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