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Research and innovation

Quarterly research and innovation literature review: R&I in times of crisis


This edition of the review covers papers and reports that emphasize: (i) the R&I response in times of crisis, and (ii) specific digital issues related to R&I.

Crises create unique opportunities and demand on research and innovation systems. The current pandemic has created economic and financial pressure that could compromise the ambitions of R&I systems.  The latest EIB investment report estimates that 45% of EU firms can be expected to reduce their investments with the current crisis. On the other hand, the recent OECD STI Outlook highlights how R&I have played a central role in the response to the COVID-19 crisis. To this respect, R&I can be seen as a key strategic investment in times of crisis, and there is a critical role for public institutions and government-led incentives to play today.

Digital technologies have been main enablers for business continuation during the pandemic. However, EU companies are less present than the US and Chinese ones in fast-growing digital sectors (although the EU registers much more patents in both green and digital technologies than its global competitors). Digital capital has accumulated over time to a point where it corresponds to at least a quarter of the assets of firms today (based on US data), with concentration in ‘superstars’ companies. At the same time, with the expansion of new data and methods, and the development of initiatives such as the European Open Science Cloud, we may be at a turning point in various scientific fields.  Against this backdrop, skills, in particular digital skills, remain an essential asset for Europe..

Contributors: Lukas Borunsky, Ana Correia, Ruzica Rakic and Julien Ravet.


10 MAY 2021
Quarterly research and innovation literature review (Issue 2021/Q1)
(1.53 MB - PDF)