EC's IUS shows Europe needs further efforts in innovation
The European Commission (EC) published the 2018 edition of the Innovation Union Scoreboard (IUS) on 22 June 2018. The IUS, which is a comparative assessment of the innovation performance of EU Member States, including benchmarks compared to international competitors, shows that the EU's innovation performance continues to improve, but further efforts are needed to ensure Europe's global competitiveness.
Sweden remains the EU's innovation leader, followed by Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg. Germany and Austria are both part of the group of strong innovators (together with Belgium, France, Ireland, and Slovenia), with Germany ranking seventh and Austria ranking tenth. The IUS shows a positive trend in the majority of EU countries, with innovation performance increasing by 5.8% since 2010. The innovation leaders in selected areas of innovation are: Denmark for human resources and innovation-friendly environment; Luxembourg for attractive research systems; France for finance and support; Ireland for innovation in SMEs, employment impacts and sales impacts; and Belgium for innovation linkages and collaboration. Overall, innovation performance has improved most in the area of broadband penetration, human resources, and the attractiveness of research systems, especially through international co-publications, while public expenditure on R&D as a share of GDP remains below the level of 2010.
The IUS also indicates areas where Europe is still lagging behind: EU companies spend less on innovation than their competitors. Venture capital remains underdeveloped in Europe, resulting in companies moving to ecosystems where they have better chances to grow fast. Public investment across the EU falls short of 3% GDP target. R&D intensity is still uneven among EU regions, with investment and research heavily concentrated in Western Europe. And 40% of the workforce in Europe lacks the necessary digital skills.
Internationally, the EU is catching up with key competitors such as Canada, Japan and the United States, but closing this innovation gap and maintaining the lead over China will require a concerted effort to deepen Europe's innovation potential.
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