Dr Bettina Becker

Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Aston Business School

Bettina’s main research interests are in R&D and innovation, foreign direct investment, SMEs and growth, and firm performance. She has been Co-applicant and CI of research projects funded by the Anglo-German Foundation, the ESRC, and the German Research Foundation (DFG). Bettina has published in international journals including Regional Studies, Small Business Economics, and International Journal of Finance and Economics.
She has guest-edited a special issue of Economic Modelling and has experience as grant application reviewer for the ESRC.

Contact Details

Email:[email protected]
Telephone:0121 204 3339

Research Themes

  • Business Demography Research Theme
  • Innovation and Exporting

Biography

Dr Bettina Becker is a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Aston Business School. Bettina’s main research interests are in R&D and innovation, foreign direct investment, SMEs and growth, and firm performance. She has been Co-applicant and CI of research projects funded by the Anglo-German Foundation, the ESRC, and the German Research Foundation (DFG). Bettina has published in international journals including Regional Studies, Small Business Economics, and Economic Change and Restructuring. She has guest-edited a special issue of Economic Modelling and has experience as grant application reviewer for the ESRC.

Research Paper

Assessing the business performance effects of receiving publicly-funded science, research and innovation grants – Research Paper No 61( Revised )

UK Research Councils spend around £1.7bn pa on supporting research. Here, we provide the first comprehensive assessment of these research grants on the performance of UK firms. Using data on funding and partnership from Gateway to Research on all funded projects by the UK Research Councils over the 2004 to 2016 period and business performance data from the Business Structures Database we have applied a difference-in-differences propensity score matching technique to evaluate the performance of UK firms who participated in publicly-funded research projects. Our analysis suggests five key conclusions. First, firms who participated in research projects funded by UK research councils grew their turnover and employment 5.8-6.0 per cent faster in the three years after the project, and 22.5-28.0 per cent faster in the six years after the project, than similar firms which did not receive support. Second, the impact of participating in projects is larger for firms in high-tech manufacturing and knowledge intensive services. Third, we find evidence that the impact of participating in projects is larger for small firms and those with lower starting productivity (turnover per employee). Growth impacts on firms in the top quartile of the productivity (turnover per employee) distribution are small. Fourth, support relevant to businesses is provided largely by EPSRC and Innovate UK. Participation in projects funded by both organisation increases both employment and turnover growth in the short and medium terms with only marginal differences in their impact. Fifth, the effects of grants vary depending on the size of the project. Participating in projects involving small and very large grants have smaller growth effects than medium-sized support packages. Our results have implications for the extent and targeting of future Research Council funding.
Our analysis is subject to a number of caveats. First, data limitations mean that we measure economic impacts using turnover and employment data rather than value added per worker or hour worked. Secondly, at this point we only consider the direct impacts on firms. Spillovers or multiplier effects may significantly enlarge these effects; displacement may reduce them. Both will be considered in a future study. Thirdly, data linking and the timing of some grant awards in recent years mean we are able to consider growth effects for only around two-thirds of firms which participated in publicly funded science and innovation projects.

Associated Themes
  • Innovation and Exporting
Research Paper

The effectiveness of regional, national and EU support for innovation in the UK and Spain. Research Paper No 52

Innovation policy aims to stimulate innovation and hence firm-level productivity and growth. Here, we use data from the national innovation panel surveys in the UK and Spain over the 2004 to 2012 period to explore the effectiveness of regional, national and EU innovation support in promoting the extent of innovation activity, its novelty, and market success. Allowing for potential selection effects, our results suggest that regionalised support is most influential in increasing the probability of undertaking both process and organisational innovations. For both the UK and Spain, national innovation support is associated with a higher probability of product or service innovation, and the degree of novelty of product or service innovations. In terms of innovation success (sales) we see a rather different pattern in the UK and Spain. In the UK only regionalised support is associated with increased innovative sales. In Spain, innovative sales are influenced by both regional, national and EU support measures. Our results suggest that moves towards more centralised innovation policy in the UK since 2012 may reinforce a focus on leading edge, novel product and service innovation while placing less emphasis on broadly based process and organizational innovation.

Associated Themes
  • Innovation and Exporting
Research Paper

Firms’ innovation objectives and knowledge acquisition strategies: a comparative analysis . Research paper No 38

External partnerships play an important role in firms’ acquisition of the knowledge inputs to innovation. Such partnerships may be interactive – involving exploration and mutual learning by both parties – or non-interactive – involving exploitative activity and learning by only one party. Examples of non-interactive partnerships are copying or imitation. Here, we consider how firms’ innovation objectives influence their choice of interactive and/or non-interactive connections. We conduct a comparative analysis for the economies of Spain and the UK, which have contrasting innovation eco-systems and regulation burdens

Associated Themes
  • Innovation and Exporting
Research Paper

Public R&D policies and Private R&D investment: Research Paper No23

The importance of R&D investment in explaining economic growth is well documented in the literature. Policies by modern governments increasingly recognise the benefits of supporting R&D investment.
This paper offers the first systematic review and critical discussion of what the R&D literature has to say currently about the effectiveness of major public R&D policies in increasing private R&D investment. Public policies are considered within three categories, R&D tax credits and direct subsidies, support of the university research system and the formation of high-skilled human capital, and support of formal R&D cooperation's across a variety of institutions. Crucially, the large body of more recent literature observes a shift away from the earlier findings that public subsidies often crowd-out private R&D to finding that subsidies typically stimulate private R&D. Tax credits are also much more unanimously than previously found to have positive effects. University research, high-skilled human capital, and R&D cooperation also typically increase private R&D. Recent work indicates that accounting for non-linearities is one area of research that may refine existing results.

Associated Themes
  • Innovation and Exporting