In order to promote innovation, the policy mix should address Europe’s twin deficits by strengthening both knowledge production and knowledge transformation.
The EU contributes to the global excellence of European research, in particular through the ERC. It should precisely monitor the impact of ERC on the performance of European research and step up its capacity to analyse the interactions between excellence and innovation.
In order to update the diagnosis on European innovation systems and integrate new evidence into policy making, the EU should develop the analysis of the nexus of research, knowledge transformation and innovation. Detailed knowledge of scientific production seems particularly important. Relatedly, efforts to evaluate the impact of research and the impact of innovation policies should take the quality of scientific production into account. In particular, the efficiency of policies in favour of public-private interfaces depends on the quality of research.
The observation of countries’ innovation performance should explicitly take into account countries’ sector composition, which has a strong impact on some of the main indicators used to analyse innovation performance like R&D intensity and the propensity to patent or to export. A statistical analysis of the Innovation Union Scoreboard could in particular be conducted to generate a typology of countries and better adapt innovation policy design to the diversity of situations. It could also help reflect on the relevance of the indicators that are not correlated to the synthetic innovation index.
The new evidence should generate a set of consistent stylised facts on the relationship between R&D intensity, research specialisation and innovation performance. It would provide a better basis to develop policies aimed at adapting the EU industrial structure to the knowledge based economy. At the regional level, similar evidence would be useful to monitor smart specialisation strategies.
The European commission could launch the definition of a roadmap to produce new policy relevant data and indicators with a conference on the impact of research and its interactions with innovation.