New scoreboard shows more innovation needed in Europe

Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden and the UK are the innovation leaders with innovation performance well above other EU member states according to the recently released ninth edition of the European Innovation Scoreboard. The report also shows that the majority of EU member states until 2008 were steadily improving their innovation performance, economic crisis may, however, threaten to hamper this progress.

According to the report for 2009, that was published a few weeks ago, the innovation gap between Europe and the US and Japan continues to be substantial. The moderated and progressive reduction in the gap with the US observed in recent years seems to have slowed down. The remaining gap is primarily explained in terms of business R&D expenditure, international patents and numbers of researchers.

Impressive improvement in China

The statistics also show that EU still holds a firm lead in innovation performance compared to the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, China, India) countries. However, China’s rate of relative improvement is impressive. In a scenario of simple linear extrapolation of current trends, China’s innovation performance could catch up with the EU-27 average in ten years.

Based on their innovation performance across 29 indicators, EU27 Member States fall into the following four country groups:

  • Innovation leaders – Denmark, Finland, Germany, Sweden and the UK are the innovation leaders with innovation performance well above that the EU27 average and all other countries. Of these countries, Germany and Finland are improving their performance fastest while Denmark and the UK are stagnating.
  • Innovation followers –  Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Slovenia are the innovation followers, with innovation performance below those of the innovation leaders, but close to or above that of the EU27 average. Cyprus, Estonia and Slovenia have shown a strong improvement compared to 2008, providing an explanation why these countries have moved from the Moderate innovators in the EIS 2008 to the innovation followers.
  • Moderate innovators – Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain are the moderate innovators, with innovation performance below the EU27 average. The EIS 2009 moderate innovators are a mix of five member states which were Moderate innovators in the EIS 2008 and 5 Member States which were Catching-up countries in the EIS 2008.
  • Catching-up countries - Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania are the Catching-up countries with innovation performance well below the EU27 average. All three countries are rapidly closing their gap to the average performance level of the EU27, and Bulgaria and Romania have been improving their performance the -fastest of all member states.

Summary innovation performance EU27 Member States (2009)

The Summary Innovation Index (SII) is a composite of 29 indicators going from a lowest possible performance of 0 to a maximum possible performance of 1. The 2009 SII reflects performance in 2007/2008 due to a lag in data availability. The grey coloured columns show 2008 performance as calculated backward from 2009 using the next-to-last data for each of the indicators. This 2008 performance is not identical to that shown in the EIS 2008 as not for all indicators data could be updated with one year. The difference between the columns for 2008 and 2009 show the most recent changes in innovation performance.

About the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS)

The ninth edition of the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) provides a comparative assessment of the innovation performance of EU27 Member States, under the EU Lisbon Strategy. The methodology for the 2009 EIS is identical to that of the 2008 EIS.

The EIS 2009 includes innovation indicators and trend analyses for the EU27 Member States as well as for Croatia, Serbia, Turkey, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

Follow this link to read more about the report and to download the full 2009 European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS).