Science, Research and Innovation Performance in the EU

The European Commission, DG Research has published a report on "Science, Research and Innovation Performance in the EU" (formerly the Innovation Union Competitiveness Report).

The key message of the report is that the EU needs to invest in the future and step up its performance in research and innovation. Science, research and innovation boost economic growth and create high-quality jobs. They are key to creating a Digital Single Market and Energy Union in the EU, and to strengthening the EU's role as a global actor.

The report provides a detailed analysis of the EU's science, research and innovation performance in relation to the three goals of Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World. According to the report, the EU's productivity gap with the United States is continuing to widen. Labour productivity is 15% lower in the EU and the gap has widened since the economic and financial crisis, in particular for the advanced European economies. This is due to a relative underinvestment in research, although the EU's R&D intensity has progressed to over 2% of GDP since the start of the crisis, and an inability to re-orient the economy towards knowledge-intensive activities, with the EU continuing to specialise in medium-high tech sectors such as automobiles.

When presenting the report, Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "The EU is a global leader of science and technology, but for our economy to benefit from being ever more dynamic and innovation intensive, we must continue to be proactive in creating the right conditions for innovation to succeed. This report will provide policymakers from across Europe with the hard facts and insights they need to tackle the innovation challenges we face. The Commission's own efforts remain focused on the priorities of Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World."

In the panel discussion following the presentation, the panelists highlighted several aspects of the report. Dirk Pilat (OECD) stressed the importance of innovation for productivity, adding that labour productivity had already decreased before the economic crisis, and that there was therefore a need to look not only into investments. Mark Spelman (World Economic Forum) called for setting up a "human cloud" for the best heads in Europe; Frank Treppe (Fraunhofer; EARTO) stressed the importance of "impact-driven innovation"; Reinhilde Veugelers (University of Leuven) welcomed the report as it focuses on the right issues and provides very good data for documentation. She also stressed the importance of being "open to the world" and getting the world's best researchers to work in Europe.