The EU needs to strengthen its R&D performance infopost

The document Science, Research and Innovation Performance of the EU 2016: A contribution to the Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World agenda, published last March by the European Commission, concludes, after analyzing the performance of the 28 EU countries in research and innovation, that Europe must better capitalize on the results of its R&D to stimulate economic growth and the creation of quality employment. The productivity gap with respect to the US, of 15%, has only grown during the years of crisis, and the report attributes this to the relative under-investment in R&D, and the inability to reorient the economy towards knowledge-intensive activities. The EU continues to specialize, instead, in medium-high technology sectors such as the automotive industry and its components. The annual investment in R&D in the union is 2% of the GDP, which is far from the intense growth of investment in R&D in countries like China or South Korea, which have been very dynamic in recent years.

In relation to public investment in R&D, the document shows that an adequate level of public financing exists as a prerequisite for a quality scientific base. Countries that invest more than average in public research tend to be those with the highest performing system in scientific excellence. In this regard, it is worrying that some countries with low quality of science – such as Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Hungary – have reduced public investment in the years of crisis. The negative trend in public investment between 2009 and 2014 was also especially notable in countries such as Spain (-14%), as well as Slovenia (-15%) and Ireland (-14%).