Ireland is No 1 in Europe for enjoying economic effects of innovation

26 Mar 2013

Ireland is the top of the EU league table for making knowledge and innovation work for the real economy. Despite this achievement, the EU’s Innovation Union Scoreboard placed Ireland as an innovation follower rather than a leader.

The EU’s Innovation Union Scoreboard rates countries in terms of employment in knowledge-intensive activities; the contribution of medium and hi-tech product exports to the trade balance; exports of knowledge-intensive services; sales due to innovation activities and licenses; and patent revenues from selling technologies abroad.

According to the latest report, Ireland’s relative strengths are in human resources and economic effects.

Ireland’s weaknesses are in finance and support of firm investments.

High growth has been observed for licence and patent revenues abroad.

A strong decline was observed for non-R&D innovation expenditures.

Growth performance in firm investments is well below average.

Leaders and followers

EU innovation index

The innovation leaders in Europe included Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Finland, which showed a performance well above the EU average.

Innovation followers included the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, the UK, Austria, Ireland, France, Slovenia, Cyprus and Estonia, which performed above the EU average.

Moderate innovators included Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Greece, Slovenia, Hungary, Malta and Lithuania, which performed below the EU average.

Modest innovators, who performed well below the EU average, included Poland, Latvia, Romania and Bulgaria.

“Innovation should now be at the heart of all member states’ policy agendas,” said EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, responsible for research, innovation and science.

“Our latest State of the Innovation Union report, also published today, shows we made progress in 2012 on some of the big-ticket items, like the Unitary Patent and new rules for venture capital funds, but we need to go further in order to avoid an innovation divide in Europe,” Geoghegan-Quinn said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years