Go back

EU businesses innovate but don’t cooperate, says survey

More than half of European businesses are involved in innovation, but few cooperate with other organisations such as universities and research centres, according to a Eurostat survey.

According to the seventh Community Innovation Survey (CIS) of EU companies, 53 per cent of enterprises from industry and services reported innovation activity between 2008 and 2010.

However, of those undertaking innovation, only 27 per cent did so in collaboration with an external partner, and only 11 per cent cooperated with an organisation outside of their own country.

The CIS, undertaken by the EU statistical office Eurostat, is designed to assess product and process innovation activities in enterprises across the 27 member states. It includes data from companies with more than 10 employees, from industry and service sectors, including manufacturing, telecommunications and transport.

On a national basis, the highest levels of innovation were seen in Germany where 79 per cent of companies were innovative, according to the survey. This was followed by Luxembourg (68 per cent), Belgium (61 per cent) and Portugal, Sweden and Ireland (60 per cent).

The most cooperative country was Cyprus, where 62 per cent of innovative companies collaborate, followed by Austria (51 per cent) and Slovenia (45 per cent).

Bulgaria, Poland and Latvia were reported as the least innovative nations, whilst cooperation was lowest in Italy.

The survey also assessed cooperation outside of Europe, and found that 3 per cent of companies had worked with a partner in the US, whilst 2 per cent had cooperated with India or China. Finland, Sweden and Slovenia were the countries most inclined to cooperate with non-EU organisations.

Data collected for the CIS will feed into the European Commission’s Research and Innovation Union Scoreboard, which ranks the 27 EU countries according to innovation indicators. The 2013 scoreboard is expected to be published in February.