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How is Europe faring in innovation?

Posting in Technology

The Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2012 ranks 190 territories based on how innovation is growing.

Released today, the European Commission's report assesses how each European region is faring when it boils down to promoting and supporting innovation -- a key driver for economic growth and jobs. The rankings include expenditure in research and development, SME activity, public-private collaborations, patent filings and the commercialization of products in high-tech industries.

Covering 190 regions across the European Union, Croatia, Norway and Switzerland, the scoreboard uses four performance tiers: 41 regions in the first group of "innovation leaders", 58 regions belonging to the second group of "innovation followers", 39 regions labeled "moderate innovators" and 52 regions are in the fourth group of "modest innovators".

The results show that most territories have a wide variety of innovation performance within their borders. As an example, France and Portugal both varied in the performance of regions (including overseas territories) ranging from innovation leaders to modest innovators.

The Czech Republic, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom all have at least one region in 3 different innovation performance groups. Greece, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia were all considered 'moderate innovators' by the report.

The most innovative regions in the EU are Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Finland. In Germany, 12 out of 16 regions, the majority of Finnish territories, and most of Denmark's regions are 'innovation leaders'. However, Switzerland came out on top, with only one single region not being granted the title of innovation leader.

Capital regions, unsurprisingly, are often national leaders in innovation. Within the EU, the number of top innovative leaders increased by 7 regions between 2007 and 2011. In addition, 12 regions were bumped up from modest or moderate innovators to innovation followers.

European Union member states Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Malta have not been included within the original report.

— By on November 8, 2012, 9:08 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure