In the overall ranking for the European Commission's Innovation Union Scoreboard 2015 (IUS), Sweden is once more the innovation leader, followed by Denmark, Finland and Germany. The fastest growing innovators are Malta, Latvia and Bulgaria, Ireland (see below), the UK and Poland. In Europe, Switzerland, which is not a member of the European Union is the continent's top innovator. In global a comparison, the EU continue to be outperformed by the US, Japan and South Korea.
The Commission says 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.
The Innovation Union Scoreboard provides a comparative assessment of the research and innovation performance of the EU member states and the relative strengths and weaknesses of their research and innovation systems. It helps member states assess areas in which they need to concentrate their efforts in order to boost their innovation performance. In addition, the IUS covers Serbia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. On a more limited number of indicators, available internationally, it also covers Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and the US.
What are the indicators used for the Innovation Union Scoreboard?
The Innovation Union Scoreboard, following the methodology of the previous editions, captures a total of 25 different indicators, distinguishing between eight innovation dimensions and three main categories of indicators:
Four different performance groups for member states
The Innovation Union Scoreboard 2015 places member states into four different performance groups (Figure 2 above):
The fastest growing innovators are Malta (MT), Latvia (LV) and Bulgaria (BG). Compared to last year, innovation performance has increased most rapidly in these Moderate and Modest innovator countries, underscoring a gradual convergence of innovation performance across EU member states.
The European Commission's assessment on Irish innovation is not reliable due to massive tax avoidance while almost half the staff numbers in the ICT (information and communication technologies) sector are not techies but work in administration for mainly large American companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook.
"Exports in knowledge-intensive services" mainly are fake and result from Double Irish tax strategies that for example in respect of Google, it books about 40% of its annual global revenues in Ireland. Se here for more detail.
The European Commission also includes American companies that have become Irish for tax purposes and are incorrectly treated as part of Irish R&D spending even though they may not spend a cent on R&D in Ireland.
The Commission says: "Ireland is an innovation follower. Irish innovation performance has been increasing until 2011 and after a temporary decline in 2012 reached its highest level in 2014. Performance relative to the EU has improved from 10% in 2007 to 13% above the EU average in 2014.
Ireland's relative strengths are especially in Innovators and Human resources. Ireland performs well above the EU average on License and patent revenues from abroad and International scientific co-publications. Other strong performing indicators are Exports in knowledge-intensive services, SMEs innovating in-house, Employment in knowledge-intensive services and Population with tertiary education. Relative weaknesses are in Community designs, Non-R&D innovation expenditures and R&D expenditures in the public sector. Performance has increased considerably in License and patent revenues from abroad (28%), International scientific co-publications (7.7%) and New doctorate graduates (7.6%). Performance has declined most in Non-R&D innovation expenditures (-12%)."
Reality Check: Irish patent filings at European Patent Office fell in 2014
According to an Irish Government report this year:
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