Following the pack: Cyprus is a ‘moderate’ innovator
Cyprus is a moderate innovator, according to the Innovation Union Scoreboard that provides a comparative assessment of research and innovation performance in Europe. The scoreboard helps countries and regions identify the areas they need to address.
According to IUS 2015, Sweden has confirmed its innovation leadership. It is followed by Denmark, Finland, and Germany as European innovation leaders. Compared to 2014, innovation performance has increased in 15 EU countries, while it declined in 13 others.
In Cyprus, innovation performance increased from 2009, but started to decline from 2012 onwards. For 2014, the innovation index is just below that of 2007. The performance relative to the EU peaked in 2008 (95%), but has been in decline from 2012. In 2014, relative performance dropped to 80%.
Cyprus performs below the EU average for most dimensions, the IUS 2015 said. At the indicator level, performance is well below average in license and patent revenues from abroad, research and development (R&D) expenditures in the business sector, non-EU doctorate students, new doctorate graduates and PCT patent applications.
A relative strong performance is observed for community trademarks, international scientific co-publications and innovative SMEs collaborating with others.
Performance in Cyprus has improved in five dimensions, in particular in intellectual assets (26%) and linkages and entrepreneurship (16%). The indicator with overwhelmingly strongest growth is PCT patent applications in societal challenges (63%).
Performance has worsened in firm investments, economic effects and innovators, in particular due to strong performance declines in license and patent revenues from abroad (-32%) and non-R&D innovation expenditures (-17%).
The European Commission’s Innovation Union Scoreboard 2015 reveals that the EU’s overall level of innovation has remained stable. However, the crisis has left an impact on the private sector’s innovative activity: the number of innovative firms is in decline, as are SMEs’ innovations, patent applications, exports of high-tech products, venture capital investments and sales of innovative products. While there have been improvements in human resources, business investments in research and development and the quality of science, these are not enough to result in a stronger innovation performance.
In the overall ranking, Sweden is once more the innovation leader, followed by Denmark, Finland and Germany. The fastest growing innovators are Malta, Latvia and Bulgaria, Ireland, the UK and Poland. In global comparison, the EU continues to be outperformed by the US, Japan and South Korea.
“We need more investments to boost the EU’s innovation performance,” said Commissioner Carlos Moedas, responsible for Research, Innovation and Science.
“This should go hand in hand with better conditions and a single market for innovative products and services in Europe. We are working on this at EU level and stand ready to help member states implement the reforms to enhance the impact of their public investments.”
The European Fund for Strategic Investments will be crucial for research and innovation, in particular to restore venture financing to its pre-crisis levels.
In addition, through the Capital Markets Union, the Commission aims to further improve access to finance for businesses, and in particular SMEs.
Strengthening the synergies between the EU’s research funding programme Horizon 2020 and Structural Funds will also play an important role in stimulating investment levels.