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Research and innovation
News article20 February 2018BrusselsDirectorate-General for Research and Innovation2 min read

Research and innovation are essential for EU's prosperity and social model, report says

Europe has a unique opportunity to lead the next wave of breakthrough innovation where digital technologies meet the physical world in areas such as digital manufacturing, genomics, artificial intelligence or the Internet of Things, penetrating all sectors of economy and society. But it needs to translate its global scientific leadership into innovation and entrepreneurial leadership.  

This is one of the main findings of the latest Science, Research and Innovation performance of the EU (SRIP) 2018 report, published today by the European Commission. The report documents how Europe's economic prosperity and social model rely on its ability to create and disseminate innovation. At the same time, the EU needs to fully embrace emerging innovations and technologies in order to overcome a severe productivity problem and to sustain the current economic growth.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said:

With growth, jobs and investments coming back, Europe's lost decade is over. We now have to make sure this growth continues through support to key drivers of prosperity: research and innovation. We need to make sure that breakthrough innovations in Europe with potential to create new markets can quickly be scaled up, such as we are already doing with the European Innovation Council Pilot, run under our research and innovation programme Horizon 2020.

The report proves that Europe is a global leader in scientific excellence (nearly one third of all high-quality scientific publications worldwide are European), in terms of public investment in research and innovation (23%), and in the number of researchers. But it also highlights its weaknesses in transforming this excellence into innovation and entrepreneurship leadership.

To address this gap, the Report points out a number of actions the EU needs to adopt to become a frontrunner in innovation:

  • prioritise innovation investment both in national and EU budgets; 
  • introduce new approaches to innovation support that can maximise the impacts of public investment and leverage more private innovation investment, notably by adopting a mission oriented approach that sets the direction of public investment  and reconnects science and innovation with citizens; and supporting the identification and scale-up of breakthrough market creating innovations;
  • adapt regulatory frameworks to incentivise innovation, by ensuring that new regulation assesses its full impact on innovation while  minimising regulatory uncertainty for innovators;  and
  • foster innovation-friendly business environment, by fulfilling the European Single Market and supporting reforms that improve the functioning of markets.


The "Science, Research and Innovation performance of the EU, 2018" (SRIP) analyses Europe’s performance dynamics in science, research and innovation and its drivers, in a global context. The Report combines a thorough indicator based macroeconomic analysis with deep analytical research dives into hot policy topics. The aim of the Report is to build a robust narrative that speaks to an audience of both Research and Innovation and Economics and Finance policy-makers and analysts. This is a flagship biennial publication by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research & Innovation that draws on a long tradition of indicators and economic analyses. It is the second edition in this report series.

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Science, Research and Innovation Performance of the EU (SRIP)

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4 JULY 2022

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Publication date
20 February 2018
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation