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The possibility of outsourcing business activities, especially in the fields of IT and manufacturing has attracted attention from both practitioners and academia. Yet literature addressing issues of outsourcing research and development (R&D) activities remains rather limited. This paper focuses on the chances and risks of R&D outsourcing by analyzing critical success factors. Firstly, we define R&D outsourcing, and provide a framework for analysis. Next, we discuss our small-scale preliminary empirical study based on expert telephone interviews in which relevant factors that influence the success of outsourcing were investigated, focusing on chances and risks. The results, supplemented by literature analysis, provide preliminary findings that could be used by firms from different industries in their decisions on R&D outsourcing.