18 Jul 2016
Sweden is once again the innovation leader
On 14 July 2016 the Commission released the results of the European Innovation Scoreboard 2016, the Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2016 and the Innobarometer 2016.
The scoreboard shows that the EU is catching up with Japan and the US in innovation performance. In the EU, Sweden is once again the innovation leader, and Latvia has become the fastest growing innovator. Compared to the previous scoreboard, Austria improved its innovation performance and and ranks now 10th (strong innovator).
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "Leading countries and regions are supporting innovation across a wide range of policies from investment to education, from flexible labour conditions to ensuring public administrations that value entrepreneurship and innovation. The Commission is doing its part by promoting innovation across policy areas too. Not only that, we're also improving access to private finance through the €315 billion Investment Plan for Europe and the Capital Markets Union, as well as creating a new European Innovation Council".
The main findings of the three reports are:
- Sweden is once more the EU innovation leader, followed by Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands.
- In selected areas of innovation, the EU leaders are: Sweden – human resources and quality of academic research; Finland – financial framework conditions; Germany – private investment in innovation; Belgium – innovation networks and collaboration; and Ireland – innovation in small and medium-sized companies.
- The fastest growing innovators are Latvia, Malta, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the UK.
- Regional innovative hubs exist also in moderate innovator countries: Piemonte and Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy, País Vasco in Spain and Bratislavský kraj in Slovakia.
Overall, the key driver of becoming an innovation leader is to adopt a balanced innovation system which combines an appropriate level of public and private investment, effective innovation partnerships among companies and with academia, as well as a strong educational basis and excellent research. The economic impact of innovation needs to manifest itself in terms of sales and exports of innovative products as well as in employment. Specialisation in Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) increases regional innovation performance, in particular in advanced materials, industrial biotechnology, photonics, and advanced manufacturing technologies. Over the next two years the EU's innovation performance is expected to improve. A majority of companies plan to maintain or increase the level of investment in innovation over the next year. Businesses in Romania, Malta and Ireland are the most likely to increase their investment in innovation next year.
The annual European Innovation Scoreboard provides a comparative assessment of the research and innovation performance of the EU countries and selected third countries. The 2016 report includes, for the first time, a forward-looking section focused on recent developments, trends, and expected changes.