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For the eighth time, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry has measured Europe’s innovation performance by means of the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS). The EIS tries to assess both Europe’s innovation record over time, as well as its relative position compared with major competitors. A number of the 29 innovation indicators used in the methodology relate to (higher) education and research. Countries included on the European side are all 27 EU member states, as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and Croatia. The data were collected before the onset of the present economic crisis.
The 2008 EIS, published at the beginning of February, shows Europe’s innovation performance improved, both with regard to earlier years and in comparison with major competitors. There is still an ‘innovation gap’ between Europe and the US and Japan, but it is narrowing. Europe is also holding its ground emerging economies. The European Union’s top innovators are Sweden, Finland, Germany, Denmark and the UK (with Switzerland, a non-Union country, beating them all). Innovation is still lagging behind in most new member states, but their performance is moving towards the EU average over time.