5. A Knowledge-based Europe

5.3 Knowledge flows

Researchers’ mobility, public-private cooperation and (open) international scientific cooperation are key ingredients for knowledge diffusion, creating solutions to grand challenges and boosting competitiveness in Europe.

Although researchers’ mobility remains key to knowledge diffusion, stark disparities remain between EU countries.

Mobility patterns diverge in terms of job-to-job mobility in science and technology (HRST), the international mobility of researchers and intersectoral mobility between Member States.

Between 2007 and 2018,  job-to-job mobility of human resources in HRST increased only slightly in the EU to reach 7.8 % on average, with the majority of countries oscillating between 10 % and 5 % of the mobile HRST workforce.

There are vast differences between countries with a higher share of inflow of researchers observed in higher-performing R&I systems in the EU, and the overall higher international mobility of researchers from smaller R&I systems.

Intersectoral mobility of researchers (from academia to industry, third sector or government) increased by 6 percentage points compared to 2010. In 2017, 51 % of EU researchers worked in the private sector, but only 20 % of those were women.

The EU is catching up with South Korea and the United States in terms of public-private co-publications.

All EU countries have a higher share of large innovative companies engaging in cooperation than innovative SMEs, although the differences between the Member States are stark for both types of enterprise.

Collaboration patterns show that a few large innovative companies are making the most of international and intersectoral cooperation.

In all EU countries, the number of public-private co-publications continues to rise although the EU still lags behind the United States and South Korea. Japan and China rank fourth and fifth, respectively. While the EU’s overall performance is good, there are important differences between the Member States.

Yet, private financing of public research has stagnated at the global level, with large disparities between EU countries.

In the EU, public expenditure on R&D financed by business enterprises has risen slightly with important differences between the Member States, countries associated to the EU Framework Programme and third countries.

The United States and the EU are leading in international technological cooperation.

The United States and EU are leading in international technological cooperation, while China and Japan are falling behind, as shown by the share of patents of foreign co-inventors in the total number of patents.

In some EU countries, foreign direct investment and foreign business research investment still play an important role in knowledge diffusion.

The foreign direct and business research investment in high-tech and medium-high-tech sectors is still very important in Europe, notably for southern and central eastern European countries.

At the global level, this investment is still significant for South Korea and China, with China having an active policy in place to reduce its needs for foreign-based technology.

The EU continues to lead on international scientific collaboration and open science with its Framework Programme playing an important role.

The EU has secured its leading position in international scientific collaboration, which has seen sharp increases not only in the EU but also in the United States and Japan.

Two thirds of researchers in the EU have collaborated or worked in more than one discipline, which is key to addressing the economic, social and environmental transitions required for a more sustainable Europe.

Several EU Member States and countries associated to the EU Framework Programme are ahead of the United States, leading the transition to the open access of research outputs, while China and South Korea are lagging behind. The European Commission co-designed and co-implemented an ambitious and holistic open science policy.

Horizon 2020 demonstrates broad international outreach attracting excellent researchers from around the world. Countries with strong R&I performances, such as Switzerland, Norway and Israel, are the most active associated countries in Horizon 2020, while almost one third of the participation from non-associated third countries comes from the United States.

Source: European Commission, MORE3 study (2016)
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Source: DG Research and Innovation, Chief Economist - R&I Strategy & Foresight Unit based on Eurostat (online data code: inn_cis10_coop)
Note: Product and/or process innovative enterprises, regardless of organisational or marketing innovation (including enterprises with abandoned/suspended or ongoing innovation activities).
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Source: DG Research and Innovation, Chief Economist - R&I Strategy & Foresight Unit based on Science-Metrix using data from the Scopus database, Eurostat and World Bank data
Note: US, JP, CN, KR: 2017.
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Source: DG Research and Innovation, Chief Economist - R&I Strategy & Foresight Unit
Note: Data produced by Science-Metrix using data from Scopus and 1findr databases. The full counting method was used.
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5.4 Europe’s got talent