The new guide-lines from the U.S. Justice Department permit co-operative research organised by Research and Development Limited Partnerships. It is worthwhile to examine the experience of Great Britain, where co-operative research has thrived for over sixty years. In its most sophisticated form, this activity is seen in the Research Associations (R.A's). This paper discusses the historical background of R.A's and gives details of current co-operative research programmes. In the automobile industry the most significent unit is the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA). Several other R.A's, e.g. Production Engineering Research Association (PERA), work on materials or production processes related to the automobile industry. Ninety per cent of MIRA's income comes from contract R & D, so confidentiality is of prime importance. R.A's already do business within the U.S. and in many other parts of the world, but a bigger U.S. involvement would be welcome.