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EU INNOVATION

European Innovation Scoreboard 2021: SEE is home to EU’s emerging innovators

© Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Innovation performance keeps improving in EU member states and regions, with SEE being the center of moderate and emerging innovators, according to the latest European Innovation Scoreboard 2021, published by the European Commission on June 22nd.

On average, innovation performance has increased by 12.5% since 2014. There is continued convergence within the EU, with lower performing countries growing faster than higher performing ones, therefore closing the innovation gap among them.  This trend applies to innovation across EU regions.

This year’s European Innovation Scoreboard is based on a revised framework, which includes new indicators on digitalisation and environmental sustainability, bringing the scoreboard more in line with the EU political priorities.

Based on their scores, EU countries fall into four performance groups: Innovation leaders, Strong innovators, Moderate innovators and Emerging innovators.

Key findings

Sweden continues to be the  EU Innovation Leader, followed by Finland, Denmark and Belgium, all with innovation performance well above the EU average.

The performance groups tend to be geographically concentrated, with the Innovation Leaders and most Strong Innovators being located in Northern and Western Europe, and most of the Moderate and Emerging Innovators in Southern and Eastern Europe.

On average, the innovation performance of the EU has increased by 12.5 percentage points since 2014.  Performance has increased the most in Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Italy and Lithuania.

Five Member States witnessed an improvement in performance of 25 percentage points or more (Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Italy and Lithuania). Four Member States had a performance improvement of between 15 and 25 percentage points (Belgium, Croatia, Finland, and Sweden). For eight Member States, performance improved between 10 and 15 percentage points (Austria, Czechia, Germany, Latvia Malta, Netherlands, Poland and Spain). The remaining 10 Member States witnessed an improvement in performance of up to ten percentage points.

Global positioning

Comparing the EU average to a selection of global competitors, South Korea is the most innovative country, performing 36% above the score of the EU in 2014 and 21% above the EU in 2021. The EU is ahead of China, Brazil, South Africa, Russia, and India in this year’s EIS, while Canada, Australia, the United States, and Japan have a performance lead over the EU.

SEE scoreboard

All of the countries in the SEE region fall within the group of emerging innovators with the exception of Cyprus, leading the score,  Slovenia, and Greece, which are ranked as moderate. Here are the list of SEE’s most innovative countries ranked from highest to lowest.

Moderate Innovators

Cyprus

With a score of 106.5, Cyprus is a Moderate Innovator. Over time, performance relative to the EU has increased strongly. Cyprus’ strengths are in Linkages, Innovators, and Employment impacts. The top-3 indicators include International scientific co-publications, Innovative SMEs collaborating with others, and Population with tertiary education.

Slovenia

With a score of 100.5, Slovenia is a Moderate Innovator. Over time, performance relative to the EU has decreased. Slovenia’s strengths are in Use of information technologies, Linkages and Human resources. The top-3 indicators include Public-private copublications, International scientific co-publications, and Enterprises providing ICT training.

Greece

With a score of 88.5, Greece is a Moderate Innovator. Over time, performance relative to the EU has increased strongly, in particular in the last three years. Greece’s strengths are in Innovators, Linkages and Employment impacts. The top-3 indicators include Sales of innovative products, Innovative SMEs collaborating with others, and Product innovators.

Emerging Innovators

Croatia

With a score of 78.2, Croatia is an Emerging Innovator. Over time, performance relative to the EU has increased strongly. Croatia’s strengths are in Innovators, Use of information technologies, and Linkages. The top-3 indicators include Product innovators, Business process innovators, and Enterprises providing ICT training.

Serbia

With a score of 74.5, Serbia is an Emerging Innovator. Over time, performance relative to the EU has increased. Serbia’s strengths are in Innovators, Firm investments and Employment impacts. The top-3 indicators include Non-R&D innovation expenditures, Product innovators, and Employment in innovative enterprises.

Montenegro

With a score of 53.7, Montenegro is an Emerging Innovator. Over time, performance relative to the EU has increased. Montenegro’s strengths are in Innovators, Employment impacts and Use of information technologies. The top-3 indicators include Product innovators, Employment in innovative enterprises, and Enterprises providing ICT training

Bulgaria

With a score of 50.1, Bulgaria is an Emerging Innovator. Over time, performance relative to the EU has increased slowly.

Bulgaria’s strengths are in Intellectual assets, Environmental sustainability and Employment impacts. The top-3 indicators include Development of environment-related technologies, Design applications, and Trademark application.

With a score of 47.1, North Macedonia is an Emerging Innovator. Over time, performance relative to the EU has increased. North Macedonia’s strengths are in Attractive research systems, Sales impacts and Innovators. The top-3 indicators include Foreign doctorate students, Medium and high-tech goods exports, and Non-R&D innovation expenditures.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

With a score of 39, Bosnia and Herzegovina is an Emerging Innovator. Over time, performance relative to the EU has decreased, in particular in the last two years. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s strengths are in Innovators, Employment impacts and Use of information technologies. The top-3 indicators include Product innovators, Business process innovators, and Employment in innovative enterprises.

Romania

With a score of 35.1, Romania is an Emerging Innovator. Over time, performance relative to the EU has remained the same. Romania’s strengths are in Sales impacts, Digitalisation and Environmental sustainability. The top-3 indicators include Medium and high-tech goods exports, Broadband penetration, and Venture capital expenditures.

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