06 November 2012

Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2012: Innovation performance of 190 European regions compared

06 November 2012 - Innovation is a key driver of economic growth and jobs. The Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2012, published today, provides a comparative assessment of how European regions perform with regard to innovation. The report covers 190 regions across the European Union, Croatia, Norway and Switzerland. 

The Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2012 classifies European regions into four innovation performance groups, similarly to the Innovation Union Scoreboard: there are 41 regions in the first group of "innovation leaders", 58 regions belong to the second group of "innovation followers", 39 regions are "moderate innovators" and 52 regions are in the fourth group of "modest innovators". 

The results show that there is considerable diversity in regional innovation performance not only across Europe but also within the Member States. The most pronounced examples are France and Portugal: in both countries the performance of regions (including overseas territories) ranges from innovation leaders to modest innovators. Other countries with wide variations in performance are Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom: all have at least one region in 3 different innovation performance groups. The most homogenous countries are the moderate innovators Greece, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, where all regions except one each are also moderate innovators. The situation is similar in Romania and Bulgaria where most or even all regions are modest innovators. 

The most innovative regions in the EU are typically in the most innovative countries: Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Finland. In Germany, 12 out of 16 regions are innovation leaders. In Finland 3 out of 5 regions and in Sweden 5 out of 8 regions are innovation leaders. Only in Denmark, the majority of the regions are innovation followers, and 2 out of 5 regions are innovation leaders, including the capital region of Copenhagen and Midtjylland. The regional innovation diversity is very low in non-EU Switzerland, which according to the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2011 outperforms all EU Member States: all Swiss regions except one are innovation leaders. 

The analysed regions show diverse strengths and weaknesses in their innovation performance. Similarly to the national innovation leaders and followers, the majority of regional innovation leaders and followers have a balanced innovation system, which means that they score high across a number of various indicators such as public and private R&D expenditures, innovative activity of SMEs, public-private collaboration in research and innovation, development of technological and non-technological innovations, number of patents, as well as commercialisation of innovative products and employment in high-tech manufacturing and knowledge-intensive services. The moderate and modest innovation regions have a less balanced innovation structure. In particular, they suffer from a relatively low innovation activity of SMEs and very low business R&D expenditures. 

In almost all analysed European countries capital regions are the national innovation leaders. In the countries that are identified as moderate innovators by the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2011, the most innovative regions are typically the capital regions as well: Praha in Czech Republic, Attiki in Greece, Bratislavský kraj in Slovakia, Közép-Magyarország (capital region) in Hungary, Mazowieckie (Warsaw) in Poland and Lisboa in Portugal. Similarly, in modest innovator Romania the Bucuresti-Ilfov region is much more innovative than any other Romanian region. This is not the case in the innovation leader countries where the innovation excellence is distributed more equally throughout the countries. 

8 regions are continuously improving their innovation performance scoring higher in each of the three Scoreboards (2007, 2009, 2012): the German Niedersachsen, French Bassin Parisien and Ouest, Italian Calabria and Sardegna, Polish Mazowieckie, Portuguese Lisboa and the Swiss region of Ticino. 

Source: European Commission