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UK falls to 8th in EU-27 innovation ranking as Europe closes gap with US….but China catches up with both
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The UK has dropped from sixth to eighth in the European Commission's latest annual Innovation Union Scoreboard, ranking Member States' innovation performance based on 24 statistical indicators. Sweden remains the EU's most innovative economy, followed by Germany, which has overtaken Denmark to move into second place. Finland stays fourth.

The UK has been overtaken by the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Belgium also marginally outperforms the UK, but Ireland and France are behind. Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia are the countries that have most improved since last year. A summary of the results for each country is here.

    UK falls to 8th in EU-27 innovation ranking as Europe closes gap with US….but China catches up with both

    The UK's innovation performance has stagnated in recent years but remains significantly above average. Relative strengths include linkages and entrepreneurship. Relative weaknesses include the declining percentage of SME's introducing innovative products and processes, or management and marketing systems. Overall sales of new-to-market or new-to-firm innovations as a percentage of total business turnover have also declined.

    Drivers of innovation growth across the EU include SMEs and the commercialisation of innovations, together with excellent research systems, not least in the UK.

    However the Europe-wide fall in business and venture capital investment over the years 2008-2012 has harmed innovation performance.

    The European Commission has also published a separate report showing that it has delivered on most of its own "Innovation Union" commitments to boost EU innovation policy. For example, 2012 saw among other things:

    - agreement on a unitary EU patent;

    - steps to make it easier for venture capitalists to operate across borders

    - a new risk-sharing instrument to support bank loans to innovative SMEs

    - the modernization of public procurement rules:

    - the setting up of four new European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) to pool resources around key societal challenges: Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability, Raw Materials, Water, Smart Cities and Communities.

    International comparisons with the EU

    Switzerland remains the overall innovation leader outperforming all EU countries. South Korea, the US, and Japan retain a lead over the EU.

    South Korea's lead over the EU is increasing, but since 2008 the EU has closed almost half its gap with the US and Japan.

    But the EU still lags considerably behind notably in business R&D expenditures, public-private co-publications, and patents, as well as in tertiary education.

    The EU continues to perform better than Australia, Canada, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

    This lead has been declining with China, remained stable with the other BRICS countries and has increased over  Australia and Canada.


    Antonio Tajani, EC Vice-President and Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "This year's results show that the economic crisis has negatively impacted innovation activity in some parts of Europe. Investment in innovation is crucial if we want to maintain our global competitiveness and restore growth in Europe. We need to encourage entrepreneurship as SMEs have been a key driver of innovation."

    Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "Innovation should now be at the heart of all Member States' policy agendas. Our latest State of the Innovation Union report, also published today, shows we made progress in 2012 on some of the big ticket items like the Unitary Patent and new rules for venture capital funds, but we need to go further in order to avoid an innovation divide in Europe."


    For more information, please contact the London press office on 020 7973 1971.
    Please note: all amounts expressed in sterling are for information purposes only.

    Last update: 26/03/2013  |Top