The EU's innovation performance needs major improvements in many areas if the Europe 2020 strategy is to deliver smart sustainable growth, concludes the European Commission's 2011 Innovation Union Competitiveness Report. Europe needs more and "smarter" investment in both public and private research and development – not only does this boost growth in the medium-term, it also has a counter-cyclical effect in times of crisis. More research cooperation within the EU and internationally is needed, along with better use of research results, including through a stronger intellectual property regime. Education systems need to be adapted to business innovation needs. Innovative and fast-growing SME's need more encouragement. A concerted effort is necessary to build on Europe's promising record in innovation tackling global challenges such as climate change. The gender gap in science and research must be closed.