Making R&D work

Nieuws | de redactie
14 november 2013 | Low targets lead to easy success with R&D, as Denmark and Germany show. At least countries like Lithuania show more ambition. Recent figures of the European Commission assess the R&D efforts of all EU countries.

In the context of the European Semester, the European monitoring mechanism which assesses the main policy themes relevant for the Europe 2020 Strategy, commission officials evaluated individual countries’ R&D ambitions. It’s not just the absolute level of R&D intensity that is taken into consideration, but also the recent trend. R&D efforts are put in the following categories:

  1. Member States which have already reached or will soon achieve their national target: Finland, Denmark, Germany, Malta and Cyprus. This group includes both countries with high R&D intensities (Finland, Denmark and Germany) and countries with very low R&D intensity (Malta and Cyprus). All of these countries had set their target at a level which was well within their reach given their national context.
  2. Member States which are on track to reach their target based on their average rate of progress over the period 2000-2011: Austria, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy and Slovenia. This group includes countries with relatively ambitious targets (Austria and Hungary) having regard to their current position, as well as countries whose targets could be seen as easier to reach (Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Slovenia). In all cases, reaching the national target will require continued public support.
  3. Member States which need to raise their rate of increase in R&D intensity to reach their target: Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. While these countries are currently not on track to reach their national target, their required effort (i.e. difference between the rate of increase required and their long-term trend) is lower than or comparable to the EU average (3.6 %).
  4. Member States which need to substantially raise their rate of increase in R&D intensity to reach their target and whose required efforts exceed the EU average: Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia. In this group, countries have set very ambitious national targets with regard both to starting levels and past trends. As a result, the required rates of increase far exceed the EU average.
  5. Member States which have not set an R&D intensity target: UK and the Czech Republic. The latter has set a public R&D intensity target at just 1 % of GDP.

Finally, several Member States – e.g. Denmark, Germany and Italy – have set a national target which seems to be not very ambitious in view of their starting point and recent trends. 


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