Northern Europe regions most innovative, says study

27th of November 2012
Northern Europe regions most innovative, says study

Northern European regions are top when it comes to innovation in Europe, but there is considerable diversity in regional performance across the countries, and within the member states.

That's according to the European Commission's Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2012.

Unsurprisingly, the most innovative regions come from the most innovative countries in Europe. Within the EU, Sweden confirms its position at the top of the overall ranking in innovation, a key driver of economic growth and jobs. It is closely followed by Denmark, Germany and Finland.

The report has covered 190 regions across the European Union, Croatia, Norway and Switzerland.

The scoreboard has classified European regions into four performance groups. Fourty-one regions belong in the first group of 'innovation leaders', 58 belong to the second group of 'innovation followers', 39 are 'moderate innovators' and 52 are in the fourth group of 'modest innovators'.

In Germany, 12 out of 16 regions are innovation leaders. In Finland three out of five regions and in Sweden five out of eight regions are innovation leaders.

Only in Denmark, the majority of the regions are innovation followers, and two out of five regions are innovation leaders, including the capital region of Copenhagen and Midtjylland.

The results show that nearly all of the European countries have regions at different levels of innovation performance.

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 Finland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. All of these countries have at least one region in three different innovation performance groups.

The most homogenous countries are the moderate innovators Hungary, Poland, Greece and Slovakia, where all regions except one each are also moderate innovators. The situation is similar in Bulgaria and Romania where most or even all regions are modest innovators.

Almost all member states have improved their innovation performance compared to the scoreboard of 2011. However innovation performance growth is slowing down and the EU has not closed the persistent gap with global innovation leaders - the United States, Japan and South Korea.

It still maintains a clear lead over the emerging economies of China, Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa however.



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