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In this paper, we present several insights regarding the influence of institutional design on the process of Research Joint Venture (RJV) formation. Our results are obtained with a firm-level dataset on RJVs formed under the umbrella of the Eureka initiative and of the European Union's Framework Programmes (EU-FPs) for science and technology. We focus on firms that are known to have a high probability of forming RJVs, with the latter identified as firms with a past experience in collaborative research. The results indicate that EU-FP RJVs are consistent with a "top-down" and "mission oriented" research policy. By contrast, Eureka RJVs appear as more market driven and "bottom-up".