In a battle of the brains, the European Union is failing to catch up with the United States in innovation; Japan has pulled further ahead. The European Commission’s fifth European innovation scoreboard shows the bloc simply has to do more. Rankings are based on factors such as the number of science and engineering graduates, research spending, investment and entrepreneurship, and high-tech jobs.
Leading countries include Sweden, Finland, Germany, Denmark and non-EU Switzerland.. The ‘average performance’ group — most of the older member states in fact — includes Britain and France, the Commission said. New member states which joined the bloc in 2004 were catching up; so were Portugal and Greece. Others were losing ground, including Spain, and EU hopeful Turkey.
The EU invests about a third less in research than the United States, while continuing to espouse ambitions of becoming the world’s leading knowledge-based economy. Employment in services, and the number of patents sought are also among the major indicators. Brussels has a plan to encourage innovation and research, such as improved efficiency of intellectual property protection, redeployment of state aid, mobilisation of additional funds for research and improving university-industry partnerships.