The annual European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) provides a comparative assessment of research and innovation performance and the relative strengths and weaknesses of national research and innovation systems. It covers the EU Member States as well as Iceland, Israel, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. The EIS allows policy-makers to assess relative strengths and weaknesses, track progress, and identify priority areas to boost innovation performance.
In the recently released 2018 edition of the scoreboard, Ireland is positioned ahead of European average, with Small and Medium Enterprises and positive employment trends recognized by the EU. Ireland moved up to ninth place in the European Innovation Scoreboard 2018, a ranking of Europe’s most innovative countries, published by the European Commission. This year’s scoreboard reports that Ireland’s innovation performance has improved 8.5% since 2010, ahead of the overall European average of 5.8%.
The EIS ranks all 28 EU member states and a select number of non-members based on research and innovation performance. The European Commission ranks countries under four categories: innovation leaders, strong innovators, moderate innovators, and modest innovators.
The scoreboard recognized Ireland for innovative SMEs; employment impacts, particularly increased employment in knowledge-intensive areas and fast-growing companies; and sales impacts, or the economic impact of high-tech and innovative activities and exports. Sweden led the 2018 rankings as an innovation leader.
Earlier this year, Ireland moved up three places to rank 13th in the Bloomberg Innovation Index 2018, a list of the world’s most innovative countries. The rankings confirm Ireland’s growing reputation for innovation, a key source of competitive advantage for companies established in the country.
Enterprise Ireland, the national export agency, has 14 Technology Centers, 15 Technology Gateways and 12 Science Foundation Research Centers, which focus on cutting-edge areas including big data, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, digital content, nanotechnology, sustainable food, smart technologies and marine renewable energy.
In each of these centers, scientists and engineers work in partnership with academia and industry to pursue crucial research questions with commercial potential. The Irish Government supports these activities, as it builds on two decades of investment in science and technology with the implementation of its Innovation 2020 strategy.