/>
X
Home & Office

Europe falling behind US and Asia in R&D, EC says

Europe's research and development is growing slowly, but the continent is increasingly falling behind the US and Asia, the European Commission has warned.In the Innovation Union Competitiveness Report 2011, published on Thursday, EU research, innovation and science commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said member states had to act to ensure sustainable growth and jobs.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor on

Europe's research and development is growing slowly, but the continent is increasingly falling behind the US and Asia, the European Commission has warned.

In the Innovation Union Competitiveness Report 2011, published on Thursday, EU research, innovation and science commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said member states had to act to ensure sustainable growth and jobs. She said EU research and innovation (R&I) remained fairly competitive, but was lagging behind in many areas.

"The overall R&I competitive position of the EU has been progressively declining in the last decade," the report read. "This decline is mainly due to the sharp rise of Asia, a trend likely to continue given the ambitious R&D targets of South Korea, Japan or China; and the inability of the EU to address some important weaknesses of its R&I system."

According to the report, one chief weakness is severe underinvestment, compared with the US and major Asian economies, and particularly in the private sector. There are also "weak knowledge exchanges between science and industry" in Europe, stymieing the commercialisation of existing knowledge, the Commission said.

Europe also has "a lower percentage of scientific publications among the most cited publications worldwide and much lower licence and patent revenues" than the US does, the report added. Finally, European innovators find it harder to get financing and have to pay more for patenting.

"The persistence of these weaknesses threatens the capacity of the EU to enhance its future R&I competitive position and its capacity to accelerate its currently sluggish progress towards a knowledge-intensive economy," the report stated. "Without this structural change to the EU economy, its future economic competitiveness in high-value-added products and services may be at risk."

According to the report, new opportunities that need grasping include closer cooperation with Asian economies, the rise of new areas of economic growth, and an "increasing demand for R&I to address societal challenges".

Editorial standards