Brussels, 29 Nov 2004
The 2004 European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) confirms Sweden and Finland as the EU's innovative leaders, with Estonia and Slovenia leading the ten new Member States.
This is the fourth edition of the EIS, which was established by the European Commission as part of the Lisbon Strategy to compare the innovation performance of the EU Member States. The scoreboard also contains information on Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, the US and Japan. The scoreboard is drawn up using 20 indicators, measuring human resources, the creation of new knowledge, the transmission and application of knowledge, and innovation finance. A composite indicator provides an overview of national performances.
This year's EIS indicates that the gap between the EU and the US and Japan remains constant. The gap between the EU and the US can largely be explained by three indicators, according to the EIS: patents; percentage of the working population with tertiary education; and research expenditure.
While Sweden and Finland maintain their leadership positions, they have lost momentum somewhat. Germany and Denmark are performing well above the EU average, with Denmark in particular moving ahead quickly. Other leading countries, such as the Netherlands, Ireland and France, are slowing down. Most of the new EU Member States are catching up, although from relatively low levels.
The 2004 EIS examines for the first time the differences between various sectors in terms of innovation. The most innovative sector in the EU is found to be electrical and optical equipment, while textiles and textile products bring up the rear.
Also included for the first time in this year's EIS is an evaluation of non-technical innovation. Studies have suggested that the advance of the US over Europe in productivity growth is not based solely on technological innovation. 'Non-technical innovation may well be the 'missing link' that prevents Europe from taking full advantage of new technological opportunities,' states the EIS.
The scoreboard looks at four aspects of non-technical innovation: non-technical change; implementation of changed organisational structures; implementation of advanced management techniques; and implementation of significant changes to aesthetic appearance. Luxembourg performs best in three out of four categories, while Germany comes second in all four.
Several countries labelled as average or poor performers on the overall scoreboard, such as Luxembourg, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Estonia and Slovenia, perform much better according to the indicators for non-technical change. This is considered encouraging, as 'substantial changes to organisation and management, as part of a modernisation process, may provide the necessary foundation for both an increase in per capita GDP and the capacity to innovate.'
The EIS working paper will be used to identify the main innovation policy changes that need to be made in order to reach the Lisbon targets. As a follow up, the Commission will update statistical data and methodology. The Commission also pledges to enter into a policy dialogue with the Member States, based on the open method of coordination, with a view to establishing a common framework of innovation policy objectives. To access the scoreboard, please visit: http:///register.consilium.eu.int/pdf/en/ 04/st15/st15189.en04.pdf