European Innovation Scoreboard 2018
Exploratory Report C: Supplementary analyses and contextualisation of innovation performance data

This report explores the extent to which differences in the scores of a country in the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) or a region in the Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS) can be explained by various socio-economic, demographic, cultural, etc. factors. The term ‘structural indicators’ is used (e.g. by Eurostat) to refer to statistical indicators used for a quantitative comparison of performances of territories in selected fields1. Such indicators can be both ‘perception-based’ and ‘fact-based’. Both types of indicators have specific advantages and disadvantages. For the purposes of this report, we define structural indicators as independent variables that may influence or determine the behaviour (current values or trends) of innovation indicators used in the EIS (or RIS). These indicators can be thought of as parameters that may influence the medium-to-long run performance of all or parts of a national or regional innovation system.

Towards A Sustainable Economic Growth and Development in the Western Balkans

Since the end of the 1980s the Western Balkan countries and Croatia have faced numerous difficulties in economic development, from the breakup of SFR Yugoslavia, military conflicts, to a delay of reforms. Although the period 2001-2008 saw an improvement in their macroeconomic performance, the global financial and economic crisis hit these countries severely.  Macroeconomic indicators have recently somewhat improved, but the structural weaknesses have not subsided. A model of development balancing economic, social and ecological aspects is demanded, with a particular focus on agriculture, energy, R&D (human capital) and public administration reform.

From strategy to implementation: the real challenge for smart specialization policy.

Published in Advances in the Theory and Practice of Smart Specialization (Publisher: Elsevier, 2017)

A smart specialisation strategy for research and innovation (S3) aims to concentrate public funds and leverage private finance to foster territorial economic transformation. Agreeing on strategic priorities is only the first step in a policy cycle and we explore how S3s are translated into operational initiatives notably in terms of the types of instruments applied. We assess whether the entrepreneurial discovery process is extended beyond priority setting and into implementation. We examine the cases of Finland, Scotland, Poland, and Greece and assess how existing policy frameworks and governance arrangements have been adapted to the S3 concept. We find that there are promising EDP processes in all four countries but that implementation has proven harder. The two more advanced countries have experimented with multi-actor, multi-instrument ‘open innovation platforms’. In contrast, the EU Structural Fund programming procedures have hindered the alignment between S3 vertical priorities and horizontal instruments in Greece and Poland.

An empirical test of the regional innovation paradox: can smart specialisation overcome the paradox in Central and Eastern Europe?

The regional innovation paradox is the greater need of lagging regions to invest in innovation and their relatively lower capacity to absorb funding compared to more advanced regions. Using data on regional public spending, industry composition and economic performance, we test empirically whether there is a differential impact of European funding on regional economic growth between Eastern and Western European regions. We conclude that the paradox is proven and consider the extent to which smart specialisation strategies may help to improve the quality of governance of regional innovation systems.

Smart specialisation strategies in south Europe during crisis

Over the last decade, southern European countries faced their gradual decline of competitiveness on international market by artificially sustaining demand through borrowing. Government budgets and the banking system offered liquidity, loans beyond the refund capacity of recipients, and supported growth by expanding domestic demand for consumer products. This erroneous reading of the origins of the crisis resulted in the adoption of economic policy recipes that led to spiralling public debt, the collapse of the banking system, and the near bankruptcy of Greece, Slovenia, and Cyprus.