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Innovation Union Scoreboard 2014

04 March 2014
by eub2 -- last modified 04 March 2014

Europe is closing its innovation gap with the United States and Japan but differences in performance between EU Member States are still high and diminishing only slowly. At a regional level, the innovation gap is widening, with the innovation performance having worsened in almost one fifth of EU regions. These are the main results of the European Commission's Innovation Union Scoreboard 2014 and the Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2014. The overall ranking within the EU remains relatively stable, with Sweden at the top, followed by Denmark, Germany and Finland – the four countries that invest most in research and innovation. The countries whose position has improved the most are Portugal, Estonia and Latvia. Overall progress has been driven by the openness and attractiveness of the EU research system as well as business innovation collaboration and the commercialisation of knowledge as measured by licence and patent revenues from abroad. However, growth in public R&D expenditure was offset by a decline in venture capital investment and non-R&D innovation investment in companies.


Four different performance groups for Member States

The Innovation Union Scoreboard 2014 places Member States into four different performance groups:

  • Denmark (DK), Finland (FI), Germany (DE) and Sweden (SE) are "Innovation Leaders" with innovation performance well above that of the EU average
  • Austria (AT), Belgium (BE), Cyprus (CY), Estonia (EE), France (FR), Ireland (IE), Luxembourg (LU), Netherlands (NL), Slovenia (SI) and the United Kingdom (UK) are "Innovation followers" with innovation performance above or close to that of the EU average
  • The performance of Croatia (HR), Czech Republic (CZ), Greece (EL), Hungary (HU), Italy (IT), Lithuania (LT), Malta (MT), Poland (PL), Portugal (PT), Slovakia (SK) and Spain (ES) is below that of the EU average. These countries are 'Moderate innovators'
  • Bulgaria (BG), Latvia (LV) and Romania (RO) are "Modest innovators" with innovation performance well below that of the EU average.

    Figure: EU Member States' innovation performance

Figure: EU Member States' innovation performance

What makes innovation leaders successful?

The most innovative countries perform well and clearly above the EU average in all areas: from research and higher education systems, through business innovation activities and intellectual assets up to innovation in SMEs and economic effects, reflecting balanced national research and innovation systems.

International comparisons with the EU

Within wider Europe, Switzerland confirms its position as the overall innovation leader by continuously outperforming all EU Member States. At a global level, South Korea, the US and Japan have an innovation performance lead over the EU. While the gap between the US and Japan has been reduced by half in recent years, it widens with South Korea.

The EU continues to have a performance lead over Australia, Canada and all BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). This lead is stable or even increasing except in the case of China, which is catching up quickly.

Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2014

This year the Innovation Union Scoreboard is accompanied by the Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2014 that provides a comparative assessment of innovation performance across 190 regions of the European Union, Norway and Switzerland using a limited number of research and innovation indicators.


The 2014 Innovation Union Scoreboard draws on 25 different indicators, divided into three broad areas:

Enablers: the basic building blocks which allow innovation to take place - human resources, open, excellent and attractive research systems, and finance and support.

Firm activities: which capture innovation efforts in European firms - firm investments, linkages and entrepreneurship, and intellectual assets.

Outputs: show how this translates into benefits for the economy as a whole - innovators and economic effects.

Further information

Innovation Union Scoreboard 2014

Full report of the Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2014