Fol­low­ing the pack: Cyprus is a ‘mod­er­ate’ in­no­va­tor

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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