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Facts and figures

Europe vs Japan and the USA

One way of measuring progress towards becoming the world’s standard-bearer of innovation and science is to compare the EU with its main competitors, the USA and Japan. The 2003 European Innovation Scoreboard – a benchmarking tool – shows on almost all measures that the Union’s innovation performance (see Useful links) remains weaker than the USA’s, despite the Lisbon and Barcelona strategies.

One of the main tools for measuring this performance is how much a country spends on R&D as a percentage of its GDP. The Barcelona 3% Objective is a threshold of research spending that Member States should reach in order to keep the Union on target to becoming the world’s most dynamic knowledge-based economy. Overall, the EU-15 has managed to increase marginally the amount it spends on R&D from 1.92% in 1999 to 1.99% in 2002. But, on average, the Union still lags behind its main competitors, Japan (2.98%) and the USA (2.80%).
See graph for details.   

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Investment in R&D in % of GDP in 2001.
Source: Research DG
Data: OECD, Eurostat
 Investment in R&D in % of GDP in 2001.  Source: Research DG Data: OECD, Eurostat