Innovation performance of the EU grows

Publication of the European Innovation Scoreboard

This year’s publication of the European Innovation Scoreboard revealed that the overall growth of innovation is crises resistant within the EU. The innovation performance of the EU as a whole improved by 8.5% since 2016, despite turbulent years in the past. In this period, 25 countries increased their innovation performance, however, at a slower rate in the more recent years. In the past year, 20 EU countries were able to significantly improve their innovation capabilities. Only seven member states experienced a decline. Notably, countries with weaker innovation systems tend to improve their innovation performance below EU average.

Individual countries’ performances and the Geographical Innovation Gap

Four performance groups have been identified by the EU, depending on the innovation performance scores that individual countries received. The score of Innovation Leaders lies 125% above the EU average, Strong Innovators perform at a level between 100% and 125% of the EU average, moderate innovators reach a score between 70% and 100% of the EU average, and Emerging Innovators are countries that have a score below 70% of the EU average. The best performing countries are Denmark and Sweden with the highest and second highest score. The countries relevant to the SPREAD2INNO project are categorised as follows: Italy and Greece fall count as Moderate Innovators, while Bulgaria is categorised as an Emerging Innovator. The geographical distribution of the mentioned countries is no coincidence. Innovation Leaders and the majority of Strong Innovators are predominantly located in countries in Northern and Western Europe, while Southern and Eastern Europe houses many of the Moderate and Emerging Innovators, highlighting the innovation gap that exists across the EU. This shows the need for projects like SPREAD2INNO, which bridges the innovation gap by enhancing business activities in less developed innovation regions, connects them with more developed innovation ecosystems, and therefore increases the innovation performance in these countries.


European Commission (2023, July 6). EU innovation performance continues to improve at the national and regional level. [accessed 2023, October 5).

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Innovation, geographical innovation gap, innovators, European innovation scoreboard

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