This is the sixth edition of the report, which was launched in 2001 as part of the Lisbon Strategy to compare the innovation performance of the EU Member States. The scoreboard also contains information on Turkey, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, the US and Japan.
Although the US is still ahead of the EU in terms of overall innovation performance, the report finds that that gap has been steadily closing over the last four years. Europe even takes the lead in some important areas of innovation, such as in the number of new science and engineering graduates, employment in high-tech manufacturing, and new community trademarks and designs.
However, the US and Japan continue to outdo the EU in crucial areas such as the level of business investment in research and development (R&D), information and communication technologies (ICT) expenditure, venture capital investments and the number of patents registered.
Turning to EU Member States, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Germany remain top of the class, all scoring well above the EU average. But the report warns that the lead taken by these countries has been declining, with the exception of Denmark.
Meanwhile the UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Ireland are what the report describes as 'innovation followers', with scores below the leaders but above the EU average.
Perhaps the most surprising revelation in the report is the pace at which some New Member States are catching up with the innovation leaders. While still behind the EU average, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland and Latvia are steadily improving their innovation performance.
Estonia, Spain, Italy, Malta, Hungary, Croatia and Slovakia aretrailing, with SII scores well below that of the EU25 and the innovation leaders and innovation performance growth which is either below or only just above that of the EU25.
The 25 individual indicators used in the EIS report are classified in five categories in order to better capture the various aspects of the innovation process. They are as follows: innovation drivers such as the number of science and engineering graduates; knowledge creation including business R&D expenditure; innovation and entrepreneurship; applications; and intellectual property.