Lithuania’s dramatic rise in the European Innovation Scoreboard

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2017 06 20

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Today, the European Commission has published the European Innovation Scoreboard 2017, in which Lithuania has risen from the 24th position in 2016 to the 16th position among the 28 EU Member States, and is ahead of Poland, Latvia, Spain, Malta, Italy, Slovakia, Greece, Hungary and Cyprus. 

‘Lithuania has made a considerable progress in the area of innovation — the European Commission has pointed out Lithuania’s progress in promoting innovation and improving the innovation ecosystem. These are not only encouraging results but also a big responsibility to continue choosing and implementing appropriate measures to maintain and increase the growth of innovation’, said Minister of Economy Mindaugas Sinkevičius.

‘It is good news that the visibility of Lithuania’s innovation is growing in the EU. To continue with improving the results it is necessary to raise the quality of education. There are many highly educated people in our country but their potential is not sufficiently employed. Starting the reform of higher education we seek to reinforce the best that we have. To achieve progress it is essential to invest in human resources so that a scientist career could become attractive,’ said Minister of Education and Science Jurgita Petrauskienė.

The strengths of the Lithuanian Innovation system include the innovation-friendly environment, business and science cooperation and human resources.

Minister of Education and Science Petrauskienė is stressing that the change in human resources (+21%) helps assess the science potential and it is very much important to ensure its development. It is necessary to increase the number of international joint scientific publications, the share of scientific publications among the 10 % of the most frequently quoted publications and the number of doctoral students.

The publication states that in 2010 and 2016, in Lithuania, the highest growth was observed in business expenditure for non-technology innovation (157 per cent) (in addition to R&D), venture capital investment (1031 percent, in 2010 it reached 7.5 percent of the EU average and in 2016 — already 84.8 percent), the number of international scientific co-publications (145 per cent) and the share of population with tertiary education (31.6 per cent).

According to the Minister of Economy Sinkevičius, the innovation policy carried out by the Ministry of Economy has contributed to the positive results of the European Innovation Scoreboard 2017. In terms of innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cooperating with other companies or science and research institutions Lithuania is 2.5 times ahead the EU average. The Ministry of Economy is encouraging business and science to establish initial contacts through the use of innovation vouchers. The scope of the cooperation has also been influenced by the clustering promotion measures. In clusters, the principle of partnership is employed by companies and higher education establishments as well as other entities.

The rise in patent applications, trademarks and design has contributed to the growth of the country’s innovation rating. By means of financial instruments (financing of the patenting of inventions and design registration) the Ministry of Economy has encouraged the protection of intellectual property rights. For the period 2011–2015, EUR 1,6 million has been allocated to this area to finance the patenting of 206 inventions and the registration of 76 designs. This year, the start of the ‘Inopatent’ measure is planned seeking to continue to foster the protection of intellectual property of business.

In Lithuania, in the period of 2014–2020, EUR 679 million of the EU investments is planned to be allocated for R&D&I, of which EUR 397 million is being administered by the Ministry of Economy. 11 measures of the Ministry of Economy have been designed so that investments could cover the whole innovation cycle and could create an incentive to ensure its smooth functioning. Within the framework of these measures, private business R&D investments are planned to amount to about EUR 260 million.

An exceptional initiative which will even more improve the position of Lithuania in the field of innovation in the future is the ‘Pre-commercial procurement’ measure. This measure is aimed to encourage public authorities to purchase R&D services for the creation of a new product, service, material or process which is not yet on the market so as to address social and economic problems of public interest.

The innovation leader under the European Innovation Scoreboard remains Sweden, and then goes Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands. In terms of the neighbouring countries, Lithuania is catching up with Estonia, which ranks 15th. Latvia has moved down from the 25th to the 24th position and Poland has fallen to the 25th position from the 23th.

In 2016, compared to 2010, the innovation activity across the EU has increased by 2 percentage points. In the European Innovation Scoreboard 2017, Lithuania is also named a country the growth of innovation activity of which (in 2016 as compared with 2010) was the fastest and accounted for 21 per cent. In addition to Lithuania, the innovation activities mainly grew in Malta (12.2 per cent) followed by the United Kingdom (11.7 per cent) and the Netherlands (10.4 per cent), and mostly contracted in Romania (-14.1 per cent), Cyprus (-12,7 per cent) and Finland (-5.1 per cent).

The European Innovation Scoreboard is an annual publication carried out by the European Commission aimed to measure the status and progress of the innovation ecosystem of the EU Member States with the help of different parameters. This publication is being published since 2001 and is one of the internationally recognised publications of the European Commission. The results of the study are widely used within the European Commission for policy-making purposes.