The study provides comparative information for member states to assess their innovation policies not only nationally but also regionally. The member states are categorised into four performance groups: innovation leaders, strong innovators, moderate innovators and modest innovators. The top group consists of Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Finland performed well in the innovation-friendly environment, innovator and human resources dimensions. Its scores for lifelong learning, patent applications and scientific output were also well above the EU average, whereas work remains to be done in employment and sales impacts.
The Helsinki-Uusimaa region clinched the top spot in the study’s regional scoreboard, which assesses 238 regions within the EU member states. Sweden’s Stockholm and Denmark’s Hovedstaden trailed close behind.
The study concludes that the EU is outperforming the US for the first time ever but is losing ground to Japan and South Korea. China is measured to be catching up three times as fast as the EU’s performance is growing.
“Innovation equals future jobs and growth. I am happy to see general progress in the EU,” said Carlos Moedas, commissioner for research, science and innovation at the European Commission. “Yet, to stay ahead in the global race, both the EU and our member states need to continue investing and developing the right policies for innovation to flourish.”
According to the European Commission, two-thirds of the continent’s economic growth in the last decades has been fuelled by innovation. The recently proposed Horizon Europe research and innovation programme would be built on the success of Horizon 2020 and generate 11-to-1 returns over a quarter century.