Reports on the State of the Innovation Union and UK Innovation Performance

The European Commission has published a report entitled “State of the Innovation Union 2012”. This provides a summary of progress made at national and EU level towards achieving the goals of the Innovation Union flagship initiative, which is the EU policy framework governing research and innovation until 2020.

The Commission has also published series of separate shorter reports on individual EU countries’ research and innovation and performance, including the UK.

State of the Innovation Union report

The report was published alongside the 2013 Innovation Union scoreboard, on which UKRO reported last week (see the article indicated below). The report’s findings are grouped into the five key parts of the Innovation Union initiative, which are:

  • strengthening the knowledge base and reducing fragmentation;
  • getting good ideas to market;
  • European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs);
  • maximising social and territorial cohesion; and
  • leveraging policies externally.

The first section includes analysis of the progress made during 2012 on delivering the European Research Area (ERA), and on focusing EU research funding on Innovation Union priorities. On the former issue, the report states that the conditions are not yet in place for achieving the ERA by 2014 (one of the key goals of the Innovation Union). However the Commission’s Communication on the ERA Framework issued in July 2012, and the work required of EU Member States and the Commission to put in place its recommendations, should enable significant progress to be made during 2013.

On focusing EU funding programmes on Innovation Union, the report states that: “In line with the ambition set out in the Innovation Union, Horizon 2020 marks an important break from the past, with funding having a more challenged-based approach, simpler rules for participants, and more effective delivery of results”. This section of the report also analyses the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) with respect to the Innovation Union priorities.

Report on UK research and innovation performance
The report on UK performance in research and innovation, which analyses the progress made towards achieving the Innovation Union goals, includes sections on:

  • the UK’s scientific and technological strengths;
  • investments in knowledge;
  • policies and reforms on research and innovation;
  • economic impact of innovation;
  • upgrading the manufacturing sector through research and technologies; and
  • global competitiveness.

The summary includes the following analysis:

  • “The UK shows overall innovation performance above the EU average. There are particular strengths in human resources, venture capital, international and public-private co-publications, and entrepreneurship…. The presence of several world-class universities, a significant proportion of young doctoral graduates, and competitive strengths in sectors such as pharmaceuticals and digital technologies have helped achieve this strong performance. However, there are relative weaknesses in research and innovation investments by firms, the creation of intellectual assets, and SMEs introducing innovations. The UK economy has several distinctive characteristics that represent actual or potential sources of competitive advantage in the innovation sphere, including a world-leading science base and information infrastructure”.

The full report on the UK is here.

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