This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 846706.

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ECO-innovation and the Dynamics of External Knowledge Sourcing (ECO-DEKS)
Project overview

Majority of the current business models and production technologies are not only unsustainable; 
they are incapable of delivering long-term transition to low-carbon economy. Many firms are
now looking beyond their internal knowledge boundaries in order to be competitive. Access to
external knowledge through open innovation has thus been recognized as an important source of
firm’s innovativeness. The concept of external search for knowledge sits within the paradigm of
open innovation. It describes situations where organizations broaden innovation efforts beyond
their own boundaries by exploiting inbound and outbound knowledge flows to improve
innovation success (Chesbrough, 2006). The concept was created by Chesbrough (2003) while
trying to describe and grasp the essence of combining knowledge sourcing strategies. This
concept even becomes more important for eco-innovative firms (EIs) as their knowledge bases
are quite complex and diverse. As such, EIs must be willing to pursue an innovation strategy
with a large portfolio of external knowledge inputs. As critical as this issue is, few evidence exist
on how EIs access both synthetic and analytic external knowledge for competitive advantage.

The overall objective of ECO-innovation and the Dynamics of External Knowledge Sourcing
(ECO-DEKS) is to examine the dynamics of alliance portfolio for eco-innovation in the
manufacturing and service sectors of Nigeria using both qualitative and quantitative data. The
specific objectives are to:

(1) examine how the manufacturing and service sectors access external knowledge to eco-

(2) investigate if depth of external search for knowledge diminishes propensity to eco-innovate;

(3) investigate if capability to carry out R&D reduces cognitive distance between firms and the
      external knowledge providers that could further promote eco-innovation;

(4) understand to what extent do eco-innovators rely on universities as a source of knowledge;

(5) examine what type of external knowledge do firms use to compensate for the lack of internal
      capabilities to develop either cleaner or end-of-type technologies and

(6) assess extant policies that are likely to enable more radical structural change and provide the
      basis for the development of green growth paths in the sectors.

      The final outputs of the ECO-DEKS project will be disseminated through several channels,
      including the submission and publication of at least 2 journal articles in high ranked journals, 
      2 working papers, 2 policy briefs, 3 yearly newsletters distributed through CMCC’s and Nigerian
      networks, presentation at two conferences and 2 seminars each year at CMCC. The project will
      also strive to make the novel data collected during the project available at an appropriately
      aggregated level (to protect privacy) both on CMCC’s and the Fellow’s institution websites and
      on public platforms such as that of the Zenodo repository (
      deks/), European Union Eco-innovation observatory and the World Bank.

ECO-DEKS is organized in 5 work packages, with deliverables (D) and Milestones (M):

Work Package 1

WP1. Literature Review and Methods: This WP will review the state-of-the-art literature as described
in the project’s methodology.



  • D1.1 Review: environmental sustainability and firm’s competitiveness;
  • D1.2 Methodology;


  • M1.1 Draft literature review;
  • M1.2. Sampling design completed;
  • M1.3: Survey design completed
Work Package 2

WP2. Data collection, analysis and training: This WP includes the following activities: data collection,
empirical analyses activities, drafting the Career Development Plan (CDP), identifying/scheduling
training courses


  • D2.1 CDP (5mths),
  • D2.2 Database,
  • D2.3 Summary of results;


  • M2.1 List of firms for the survey ready,
  • M2.2 Beginning of data collection,
  • M2.3 End of data collection,
  • M2.4 Beginning of empirical analysis
Work Package 3

WP3. Report Writing: This WP concerns the reporting of project’s results, before and after inputs from
the stakeholders.

  •      D3.1 report completed;

  • Milestones

  •       M3.1 Draft preliminary report circulated;

Work Package 4

WP4. Project Outputs Communication and Dissemination: This WP concerns the communication and
dissemination of the project’s outputs to the scientific community and other stakeholders.


  • D4.1 Social Media platforms,
  • D4.2 Posters/stickers/flyers,
  • D4.3 First Newsletters (NL),
  • D4.4 Second NL,
  • D.4.5 First Policy brief (PB),
  • D4.6 First Blog,
  • D4.7 Second PB,
  • D4.6 First Working paper (WP),
  • D4.7 Second WP,
  • D4.8 Second Blog.


  • M4.1 First seminar;
  • M4.2 Second seminar,
  • M4.3 Third seminar,
  • M4.4 Fourth seminar,
  • M4.5 Submit First Working paper to journal,
  • M4.6 Submit Second working paper to journal.
Work Package 5

WP5. Project management and data management plan: This WP checks day-to-day project
management activities to ensure the achievement of the research objectives within the programmed time
and budget. It also deals with the management plans envisaged for data gathering and management.


  • D5.1 First Progress Report,
  • D5.2 Publication of the DMGM for the project,
  • D5.3 Second Progress Report,
  • D5.4 Third Progress Report
  • D5.5 Submission of data to H2020 platform,
  • D5.6 Fourth Progress Report.


    • M5.1 Draft of Data management guideline manual (DMGM),
    • M5.1 Final Progress Report.



Timeline for the project