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European Commission > Investing in European Research > Composite indicators

Composite indicators

By aggregating a number of key variables, composite indicators attempt to summarize into a single measure various aspects of complex, multidimensional issues. They have already been successfully used at a national and international level.

The use of composite indicators to assess progress towards the knowledge-based economy is an emerging and pioneering field. In the scope of the Commission’s Structural Indicators exercise [ - 203Kb], it was decided that it would be useful for the Commission to investigate and further develop composite indicators to assess the progress made towards a knowledge-based economy.

Two composite indicators have thus been developed:

  • One is aggregating the various forms of investment in the knowledge-based economy
  • And the other is aggregating measures of performance in the knowledge-based economy

These composite indicators are a weighted average of a number of components or base indicators. They have been developed with the involvement of a number of Commission services, including Eurostat and the Applied Statistics Group of the Joint Research Centre, and external assistance of Prof. Anthony Arundel and Catalina Bordoy of MERIT.

The 2005 edition of the Key Figures [ - 1,06 Mb] includes these composite indicators for the EU-15 and for the US and Japan, up to 2002.

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