IRELAND HAS SCALED up to ninth place in a European ranking of innovative countries.
The rankings, dubbed the European Innovation Scoreboard 2018, is published by the European Commission.
It assesses and compares countries for their research and innovation performance. It ranks all 28 EU member states and a select number of non-members.
The scoreboard was first introduced in 2010. This year’s edition found Ireland’s innovation performance improved 8.5% since 2010 while the whole bloc improved 5.8% overall.
The rankings rate countries under four categories: innovation leaders, strong innovators, moderate innovators and modest innovators.
Ireland, in ninth place, came in the strong innovators group.
The scoreboard highlighted Ireland for its innovation in SMEs; employment impacts, where employment in “knowledge-intensive” areas and fast growing companies has increased; and sales impacts, which measures the economic impact of high-tech and innovative activities and exports.
Sweden topped this year’s rankings as an innovation leader.
Need to act
The government welcomed Ireland’s improved positioning on the scoreboard but acknowledged that work needed to be done to capitalise on it.
“We need to continue to build on this success and ensure that effort and investment in research, development and innovation is prioritised to realise our ambition of joining the ranks of the Innovation Leaders,” Minister for Training John Halligan said in a statement.
According to the European Commission, while EU member states are performing well on research, more needs to be done to turn that into further innovation.
Carlos Moedas, the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said the EU’s proposed €100 billion Horizon Europe fund programme will accelerate this process.
The proposed fund would come into effect with the EU’s next budget in 2021 and succeed the current Horizon 2020 programme.