New report shows Europe needs more strategic high-tech investment

News alert

New report shows Europe needs more strategic high-tech investment

Brussels, 2 December 2013

Europe remains a main knowledge production centre of the world, but lags behind North America and Asia in fast-growing technologies of the future. This is a key conclusion of the latest Innovation Union Competitiveness Report published today. While Europe continues to lead science and technology for aeronautics, automobiles, clean transport, waste management and renewable energy, the report shows that it risks falling behind in other emerging global growth markets such as health and biotechnology.

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “This report rightly highlights Europe's leadership in many key industries, but again pinpoints growing gaps in some key sectors for the future. We cannot afford to fall behind. This is why our next research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, will support industrial leadership in key technologies as well as fundamental and challenge-based research.”

The Innovation Union Competitiveness report is published every two years. Based on a very broad range of indicators, covering all 28 EU Member States and six countries associated to the EU research framework programme, the report contributes to the Europe 2020 Strategy for jobs and growth by providing an in-depth statistical and economic analysis of the research and innovation systems of Europe and its main competitors.

Main findings of the report

At EU level:

  • The EU is facing increasing world competition, in particular at the higher end of global value chains. In 2011, more than 70% of the world’s knowledge creation was taking place outside the EU, and half of the world’s scientists and engineers lived outside the EU, US and Japan.
  • However, the EU remains the main centre for knowledge production in the world, accounting for almost a third of the world’s science and technology production. It is also an attractive location for R&D investment.
  • Science and technology development in Asia and in the United States is often more strategic than in the EU. It is more focused on transformative technologies oriented toward emerging global markets. The EU’s technology assets are more focused on established and traditional industries.

Source: DG Research and Innovation Data: OECD patent database

At national level

  • Countries making sustainable efforts in research and innovation have been more resilient to the economic crisis. In Malta, Luxembourg, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and Poland, public investments in R&D have been protected or increased in spite of fiscal constraints.
  • Research excellence is the highest in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Israel.
  • The strongest innovation output is found in Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland, the United Kingdom and France.
  • High-growth innovative enterprises are renewing the firm structure not only in innovation leaders like the United Kingdom and Sweden, but also in Bulgaria the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Portugal, Norway, Cyprus, Hungary and Poland.

To view or download copies of the report, click here: research/innovation-union/pdf/competitiveness_report_2013.pdf



Michael Jennings, Tel. +32 229 633 88 Twitter: @ECSpokesScience

Inmaculada Martinez Garcia Tel. +32 229 873 03