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Malta deemed only ‘moderate’ innovator in EU scoreboard

Malta ranked as ‘moderate’ innovator in EU innovation scoreboard, with an index well below EU average

26 March 2013, 12:00am

Malta was ranked 23rd in the EU with regard to innovation, and described as one of the EU's "moderate" innovators, alongside countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Greece, Slovakia, Hungary, and Lithuania.

Innovation performance in the EU has improved year on year in spite of the continuing economic crisis, but the innovation divide between Member States is widening.

The overall ranking within the EU remains relatively stable, with Sweden at the top, followed by Germany, Denmark and Finland. Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia are the countries that have most improved since last year.

Drivers of innovation growth in the EU include SMEs and the commercialisation of innovations, together with excellent research systems.

However the fall in business and venture capital investment over the years 2008-2012 has negatively influenced innovation performance.

According to the scoreboard's report, Malta's relative strengths are in Economic effects, while the report deemed that Malta's relative weaknesses are in Human Resources and Finance and Support.

Malta was deemed to have experienced the fastest growth of all Member States for Most Cited Publications, Public-Private Co-Publications and SMEs Introducing Product or Process Innovations. High growth was also observed for New Doctorate Graduates.

However a strong decline was observed for PCT Patent Applications, Community Designs, Sales of New-to-Market and New-to-Firm Innovations as well as License and Patent Revenues from Abroad.

Growth performance in Open, excellent and attractive research systems are well above average while growth performance in Firm Investments and in Economic Effects was well below average.

Who are the innovation leaders in the European Union?

Innovation leaders: Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Finland, all show a performance well above that of the EU average.

Innovation followers: Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, the UK, Austria, Ireland, France, Slovenia, Cyprus and Estonia all show a performance close to that of the EU average.

Moderate innovators: The performance of Italy, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Greece, Slovakia, Hungary, Malta and Lithuania is below that of the EU average.

Modest innovators: The performance of Poland, Latvia, Romania and Bulgaria is well below that of the EU average.

European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "This year's results show that the economic crisis has negatively impacted innovation activity in some parts of Europe. Investment in innovation is crucial if we want to maintain our global competitiveness and restore growth in Europe. We need to encourage entrepreneurship as SMEs have been a key driver of innovation."

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, responsible for Research, Innovation and Science, said: "Innovation should now be at the heart of all Member States' policy agendas. Our latest State of the Innovation Union report, also published today, shows we made progress in 2012 on some of the big ticket items like the Unitary Patent and new rules for venture capital funds, but we need to go further in order to avoid an innovation divide in Europe."

The European Commission has also today published a report complementary to the Scoreboard.

For individual summaries of the innovation performance of all 27 Member States, and other European countries: MEMO/13/274