EU innovation performance continues to improve


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EU innovation performance continues to improve
27. July 2023 News

EU innovation performance continues to improve

The 2023 European Innovation Scoreboard reveals a significant improvement in innovation performance, emphasizing the importance of a European Innovation Ecosystem, with Horizon Europe as a key enabler, to bolster European competitiveness globally. However, despite this progress, a persistent innovation divide exists, particularly in less developed and peripheral regions, highlighting the need for strategic use of Cohesion Policy funds to bridge this gap and ensure economic, social, and territorial cohesion across Europe.

The European Union (EU) has made significant strides forward in innovation in recent years. According to the European Innovation Scoreboard 2023, the EU's innovation performance has improved by around 8.5% since 2016, confirming the EU's commitment to fostering a culture of innovation.

The innovation performance of 25 countries has improved over the period, albeit at a slightly slower pace in recent years. 20 Member States have seen a significant increase in their innovation performance in the last year, while seven have seen a decline.

At global level, the EU is still slightly ahead of China and close to Australia, although the gap with Canada, the Republic of Korea and the United States has widened.

EU Member States are divided into four groups according to their performance: leading innovators (performance above 125% of the EU average), strong innovators (between 100% and 125% of the EU average), moderate innovators (between 70% and 100% of the EU average) and emerging innovators (below 70% of the EU average). Denmark is the new leading innovator, followed by Sweden, which has been at the top in previous years. The other leading innovators are Finland, the Netherlands and Belgium. Slovenia is a moderate innovator, just below the EU average.

At regional level, innovation performance increased from 2016 to 2023 in 211 out of 239 EU regions. The most innovative region in Europe is Hovedstaden in Denmark, followed by Helsinki-Uusimaa in Finland and Oberbayern in Germany. Stockholm in Sweden ranks fourth and Berlin in Germany fifth.

Although the EU has made notable progress in innovation, there is still a divide, shaped mainly by geographical concentrations, with Northern and Western Europe showing higher innovation rates than Southern and Eastern Europe. This divide underlines the need for targeted efforts to bridge the innovation gap and promote balanced growth across the EU, which is one of the objectives of the New European Innovation Agenda. Through initiatives such as the Deep Tech Talent Initiative, the Innovation Talent Platform and the Regional Innovation Valleys, countries or regions can drive technological progress and maintain a competitive edge at the global innovation level.

The European Innovation Index underlines the commitment of the EU and its Member States to foster innovation based on excellence, competitiveness, openness and talent. It serves as a guide for the design of policies that strengthen innovation in Europe while keeping pace with a rapidly evolving global environment.

The European Innovation Scoreboard is available on the web tool EIS 2023 - RIS 2023.

“The 2023 edition of the European Innovation Scoreboard shows a substantial improvement in innovation performance. It highlights the importance of a European Innovation Ecosystem, with Horizon Europe as a powerful enabler. Something that can help us champion excellence and provide support to leading researchers and innovators and promote a start-up culture. This will ultimately strengthen European competitiveness for us to keep pace in a global landscape.” - Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age”

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