European Innovation Scoreboard
What is the European Innovation Scoreboard?
The annual European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) provides a comparative assessment of research and innovation performance across the EU. The data helps Member States, regions and the EU to assess relative strengths and weaknesses of national research and innovation systems. The EIS provides an assessment of areas where Member States perform well and ones on which they need to focus their efforts to increase innovation performance.
The EIS covers the EU Member States, as well as Iceland, Israel, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. Additionally, the report also includes some available data for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Montenegro.
On a more limited number of globally available indicators, the EIS compares the EU with Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, the Russian Federation, South Africa, South Korea, and the United States.
Every two years, the EIS is accompanied by the Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS), which provides a comparative assessment of regional innovation systems.
What is the latest innovation performance of EU countries?
Based on their scores, EU countries fall into four performance groups:
-Innovation Leaders - Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden perform 20% or more above the EU average;
-Strong Innovators - Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom perform above or close to the EU average;
-Moderate Innovators - Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain show an innovation performance below the EU average;
-Modest Innovators - Bulgaria and Romania perform well below 50% of the EU average.
Compared to last year's edition, Estonia (previously a Moderate Innovator) joins the group of Strong Innovators. Luxembourg and the United Kingdom (both previously Innovation Leaders) drop to the group of Strong Innovators, and Slovenia (previously a Strong Innovator) drops to the group of Moderate Innovators.
Figure 1: Performance of EU Member States' innovation systems
Coloured columns show Member States' performance in 2018, using the most recent data for 27 indicators, relative to that of the EU in 2011. Grey columns show Member States' performance in 2011 relative to that of the EU in 2011. For all years, the same measurement methodology has been used. The dashed lines show the threshold values between the performance groups in 2018, comparing Member States' performance in 2018 relative to that of the EU in 2018.
The countries that have good overall innovation performance (Innovation Leaders) also perform well in most specific areas of innovation. While, Strong and Moderate Innovators perform wellin some specific areas of innovation. The EIS is composed of ten dimensions:
-Human resources- Denmark comes in first followed by Sweden, Finland, United Kingdom and the Netherlands. This section encompasses new doctorate graduates, lifelong learning and the population segment that has completed tertiary education.
-Attractive research systems - Luxembourg continues to be the best performing country, followed by Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and United Kingdom. These countries are open for cooperation with partners from abroad, researchers are well connected at the international level, and the quality of research output is very high.
-Innovation-friendly environment - Denmark is the overall best performing country followed by Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The leaders in this section have a high degree of broadband penetration with high degree of opportunity driven entrepreneurship.
-Finance and support - France leads this section followed by the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Finland and Sweden. The leaders of this section have a high degree of research and development spending in the public sector along with strong venture capital investments.
-Firm investments - Germany comes in first with Finland, Sweden, Belgium and Austria closing the top five. They have high research and development spending in the business sector, high non-research and development spending and their enterprises provide high levels of information and communications technology training.
-SME innovators- Portugal is the best performer, followed by Finland, Austria, Belgium and Greece. These countries manage well with supporting SMEs in introducing new products, novel processes and introducing marketing or organisational innovations.
-Linkages - Austria is the overall winner followed by Belgium, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands. This category assesses the extent of innovative SMEs collaborating with others, public-private co-publications and private co-funding in public R&D activities.
-Intellectual assets - Malta is the overall best performing country, followed by Finland, Austria, Belgium and Greece. The countries that score high have a high degree of trademark applications, design application and PCT patent applications.
-Employment impacts - Ireland leads this section followed by Malta, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Luxembourg are the top performers. Countries that score high have strong employment in knowledge-intensive activities and strong employment in fast-growing firms that work in innovative sectors.
-Sales Impacts - Ireland is the winner, followed by Germany, United Kingdom, Slovakia and Cyprus. These countries manage well with medium and high-tech product exports, knowledge-intensive services exports and sales of innovations to businesses and consumers.
Have Member States improved their innovation performances?
The EIS 2019 shows an improved overall performance. In comparison to last year's edition, innovation performance improved for 24 Member States, most notably for Estonia, Portugal, Finland, and Greece. The process of convergence, where lower performing countries are growing faster than higher performing countries, has accelerated in the EU in 2018.
For the EU, performance between 2011 and 2018 improved by 8.8 percentage points. Since 2011, performance improved for 25 Member States. For seven Member States, performance improved by 15 percentage points or more: Lithuania, Greece, Latvia, Malta, United Kingdom, Estonia, and the Netherlands.
Figure 2: Change in Member States' innovation performance (2011-2018)
The vertical axis shows Member States' performance in 2018 relative to that of the EU in 2011. The horizontal axis shows the change in performance between 2011 and 2018 relative to that of the EU in 2011. The dashed lines show the respective scores for the EU.
What are the key drivers of innovation?
The most innovative countries perform best on all measures. Countries with above average shares of high-tech industries tend to perform better on many EIS indicators. In order to achieve a high level of innovation performance, countries need a balanced innovation system, performing well across all dimensions. They need an appropriate level of public and private investment in education, research and skills development, effective partnerships between industry and academia, as well as an innovation-friendly business environment, including strong digital infrastructure, competition on the markets and efficient allocation of resources.
In which dimensions has Europe improved and worsened?
The 2019 EIS demonstrates that the EUs performance has improved the most in the following dimensions: Innovation-friendly Environment (notably broadband penetration), Human resources (notably Doctorate graduates), Firm Investments and Attractive research systems (international co-publications). A positive trend is the increased investment by venture capital. In contrast, Innovators (product, process, organisational and marketing innovation) witnessed the biggest decrease in comparison to the previous year.
Figure 3: EU performance change by dimension and indicator (2011-2018)
Normalised scores in 2018 (blue coloured bars) and 2017 (black coloured bars) relative to those in 2011 (=100)
How does the EU's performance compare to other countries?
At the global level, the EU has surpassed the United States for the first time. The EU's performance lead over Brazil, India, Russia, and South Africa remains considerable, but China is catching up at three times the EU's innovation performance growth rate. Canada, Australia, Japan, maintain a performance lead over the EU. However, relative to Japan and South Korea, the EU has been falling behind, and the performance gap is expected to further increase in the coming years. South Korea is the most innovative country, performing almost 37% above the performance score of the EU.
Figure 4: Global performance
Bars show countries' performance in 2018 relative to that of the EU in 2018
In comparison to estimates, the EU was quicker to catch up -and now surpass- the United States than initially expected. The EU is also narrowing its gap with Canada, but China is catching up very quickly. As global competition intensifies, Europe needs to reinforce its efforts to innovate and move towards cleaner and smarter industry to boost its competitiveness and ensure the well-being of its citizens.
Figure 5: Change in global performance
Change in performance is measured as the difference between the performance in 2018 relative to the EU in 2011 and the performance in 2011 relative to the EU in 2011.
What are the indicators used for the Scoreboard?
The main measurement framework of the EIS 2019 is composed of 27 performance indicators, distinguishing between ten innovation dimensions in four main categories (for a full overview of the indicators, see Table 1 in the Annex):
-Framework conditions capture the main drivers of innovation performance and cover three innovation dimensions: human resources, attractive research systems, and innovation-friendly environment.
-Investments include public and private investment in research and innovation and cover two innovation dimensions: finance and support, and firm investments.
-Innovation activities capture the innovation efforts at the company level, covering three dimensions: innovators, linkages, and intellectual assets.
-Impacts demonstrate the benefits for the economy as a whole: employment impacts and sales effects.
When comparing the EU with its global competitors a more restricted set of 16 indicators have been used for the international comparison of the EU.
Methodological details are available in the EIS 2019 Methodology Report.
Regional Innovation Scoreboard
What is the Regional Innovation Scoreboard?
The Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS) is a regional extension of the European Innovation Scoreboard. It provides a comparative assessment of regional innovation systems, replicating the EIS methodology.
The RIS 2019 covers 238 regions of 23 EU Member States, while Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Malta are included at the country level. In addition, the Regional Innovation Scoreboard also covers regions from Norway, Serbia, and Switzerland. For 159 regions, performance has increased between the last and first year in the nine-year observation period used in the RIS.
The report uses data for 18 of the 27 indicators applied in the EIS 2019. Compared to the RIS 2017, regional coverage has improved for Bulgaria (from 2 to 6 regions) as NUTS 2 data have become available for more indicators
Profiles for all regions are available online. Similar to the EIS country profiles, these also include tables with contextual data on the economic structure, business indicators and socio-demographic to illustrate possible impacts of structural differences on performance scores.
What are the most innovative regions?
Similar to the EIS, Europe's regions have been classified into regional Innovation Leaders (38 regions), regional Strong Innovators (73 regions), regional Moderate Innovators (98 regions), and regional Modest Innovators (29 regions).
The most innovative region in the EU is: Helsinki-Uusimaa, Finland; followed by Stockholm, Sweden and Hovedstaden, Denmark. The overall most innovative region in Europe is Zϋrich in Switzerland.
All Regional Innovation Leaders belong to countries identified as Innovation Leaders or as Strong Innovators in the European Innovation Scoreboard, while moderate and modest innovation regions correspond to the national classifications. However, regional 'pockets of excellence' can be identified in some Moderate Innovator countries such as Prague in Czechia, Crete in Greece, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy.
For more information
-Press release: 2019 European Innovation Scoreboard
-Press release: European Semester 2019 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to advance sustainable and inclusive economic growth (June 2019)
-Press release: €2 billion to fast forward the creation of the European Innovation Council (March 2019)
-Press release: Commission welcomes provisional agreement on Horizon Europe, the future EU research and innovation programme (March 2019)
-Press release: A renewed agenda for Research and Innovation: Europe's chance to shape the future (May 2018)
-Factsheet: EU Research and Innovation success stories