The European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) makes it possible to compare research and innovation performance in EU member states and selected non-EU countries. It can also compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of their research and innovation systems. The EIS Report 2020 is the first since the United Kingdom left the European Union, with all results for the EU being based on the current 27 member states. This year’s European Innovation Scoreboard shows that the EU’s innovation performance is steadily increasing and that further, general improvement is expected in the short term, even if the progress continues to be uneven. Based on their average performance figures, which were calculated using a composed indicator, the member states fall into four different categories of performance. Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden are leading innovators with innovation performance far above the EU average. Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland and Portugal are strong innovators with performance above or close to the EU average. The performance of Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain is below the EU average. These countries are moderate innovators. Bulgaria and Romania are modest innovators with performance far below the EU average.
Compared globally, the EU’s performance leads over the United States, China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa and India, while it falls behind South Korea, Canada, Australia and Japan. China has caught up, with innovation performance growing at a rate five times the EU’s between 2012 and 2019. Should the trend continue, China will keep closing this gap and likely also surpass the US. The performance in Australia and Japan fell between 2018 and 2019, whereas it rose in Canada and the US. On average, the innovation performance of the EU has increased by almost nine percentage points since 2012, which can be attributed to strong improvement on indicators such as broadband penetration, co-authored international academic papers and innovation expenditure outside of research and development. The convergence phenomenon seen within the EU, whereby countries with lower performance rise faster than higher-performing countries, continued in 2019.