|General Electric’s US$100m research centre on Ilha do Fundao, opened in late 2013|
Technological and innovation capabilities on the island are now further enhanced with the arrival of new residents on the island, including Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Halliburton, FMC Technologies, Siemens, BG Group, General Electric and Vallourec. These firms have invested heavily in the area, establishing large and expensive R&D centres. For example, FMC’s 20,000 square metre facility cost around US$25million to build. Why there? FMC hopes to tap into the university campus, to create a collaborative environment and enable access.
Yet, despite these new R&D investments, operational challenges remain. As yet, cooperation between the new companies on the island is still weak. Several companies identified this as a source of concern. Perhaps with strong relationship already built by Petrobras, it is hard for newcomers to forge links with local academics. But there may be other reasons. These issues will be examined in an academic paper in preparation this year which addresses the motivations of foreign multinational enterprises in Brazil in locating in industry clusters, how they participate in those clusters, the extent to which the collaborative efforts of such firms are inhibited by barriers to entry, and the implications for industrial innovation in Brazil.