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Open R&D Consortia:
Open Innovation Alliances in the Pharmaceutical Industry


This is the website for “Open R&D Consortia: Open Innovation Alliances in the Pharmaceutical Industry,” a joint research project by the Keck Graduate Institute and the University of Denver’s Daniels School of Business. The project was funded by the National Science Foundation, Science of Science Innovation Policy (SciSIP) program, and ran from September 2015 through August 2020. Researchers continue to analyze the results from the project to enable further publications.


While the pharmaceutical industry provides a crucial role in improving human health, over the past 20 years established firms have faced declining efficiency and effectiveness of their R&D efforts. In response, in the early 21st century dozens of industry-supported R&D consortia have been formed to create and share knowledge between private and public participants. This project will study these consortia and how firms reconcile the open nature of consortia with their traditional IP-based business models.

Based on interviews and survey data collection, this project will offer the first large-scale study of this new form of cooperation. It will offer theoretical insights both for understanding consortia-style R&D collaboration in a new industry, and also new R&D approaches for the pharmaceutical industry — extending research on open innovation and appropriability in consortia and strategic alliances. These insights will also have direct relevance for leaders of these consortia and other public-private partnerships, particularly in the biomedical sector. Finally, disseminating best practice for these consortia will help maximize the cost and time benefits that biomedical firms gain from such collaborations, accelerating the availability of improvements in human health.

About the Team

The project has two principal investigators:

During the term of the project, these faculty researchers were supported by graduate and undergraduate research assistants at both KGI and DU.

Questions regarding the project may be directed to either PI.


Our publications thus far are:

We also have presented our research at numerous conferences, including Academy of Management, DRUID, Open and User Innovation Conference, Strategic Management Society and World Open Innovation Conference. We continue to work on developing additional journal papers from these presentations.

IRB (Human Subjects) Exemption

In June 2015, the project was determined to be categorically exempt from IRB coverage by the Institutional Review Board of Claremont Graduate University (which handles KGI IRB reviews). Questions regarding this decision should be directed to the CGU IRB.

Last Updated October 29, 2020