Community Innovation Survey (CIS)

Description of the data collection

Scope of the survey

The community innovation survey (CIS) is the reference survey on innovation in enterprises.

Available time series

The EU countries first introduced the survey in 1992, and since then it has become a regular biennial data collection.

Available countries

At present, the survey is carried out in the EU, EFTA and the candidate countries.

Data collection

The legal framework for CIS since 2012 is EU regulation 995/2012 that establishes the quality conditions and identifies the obligatory cross-coverage of economic sectors, size class of enterprises and innovation indicators.

To meet the requirements of the regulation and the needs of the users, Eurostat collaborates with countries to develop a standard questionnaire, the so-called harmonised data collection (HDC), for each round. 

In addition to the core mandatory questions, each survey wave includes voluntary variables, such as environmental benefits of innovation. For more information, please consult the CIS questionnaires. The microdata generally follow the structure of the HDC.

Scope of the survey 

The CIS is designed to provide information on the innovativeness of business economy sectors, to enable the analysis of innovation drivers or barriers or to assess innovation outcomes. The survey focuses, among others, on the following aspects:

  • product innovation (new to firm; new to the market)
  • business process innovation
  • innovation development
  • innovation activities
  • innovation expenditure
  • turnover from innovative products
  • incentives for the implementation of innovation
  • innovation cooperation
  • source of financing for innovation
  • sources of information on innovation
  • barriers to innovation
  • others

Available microdata

For research purposes, CIS microdatasets are available in two format: as scientific-use files (SUF, partially anonymised data) and as secure-use files in the safe centre (SC) at Eurostat's premises in Luxembourg, or remotely via accredited end points.

SUF have some variables recoded into broader groups and others perturbed. The secure-use files are not subject to any perturbation. The table below lists the perturbations and the availability of data by NUTS and NACE in both files.

Main characteristics of SUF and SC files

Variables SUF SC
NUTS NUTS 0: all survey rounds
  • NUTS 0: CIS3 to CIS2012
  • NUTS 1: CIS2014 (majority of countries) / CIS2016 and CIS2018 (all countries)
NACE 2 digits or groups of 2-digits 4 digits
Number of employees/
persons employed
  • 4 broad size classes: 10-49, 50-249, 250-500, over 500
  • Employment growth
No perturbation / recoding
Country of head office of enterprise 3 categories:
  • Home country
  • other EU, EFTA or candidate country
  • rest of the world
No perturbation / recoding
  • Absolute values perturbed (microaagregation within NACE*size class category)
  • Turnover growth
No perturbation / recoding
Expenditure on innovation and other activities Values expressed as a share of turnover No perturbation / recoding
Remaining variables No perturbation / recoding No perturbation / recoding

Additional information on content of CIS microdata