Sweden named Europe’s most innovative country

Sweden named Europe's most innovative country
Computer servers in Luleå, northern Sweden. Photo: Susanne Lindholm/TT
Sweden is still Europe’s most innovative country, according to the latest edition of a European Commission ranking.

The 2016 edition of the European Innovation Scoreboard has named Sweden as the EU’s innovation leader, followed by neighbours Denmark and Finland, then Germany and the Netherlands.

That means the Swedes hold on to top spot in the table from 2015.

“The main findings are that EU innovation is catching up with Japan and the US, Sweden is once again the innovation leader, and Latvia has become the fastest growing innovator,” the study said.

The European Commission's ranking provides an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of research and innovation performance in the countries studied.

It covers covers the EU Member States as well as Iceland, Israel, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine.

And Sweden performed best of all, leading in the key categories of human resources and the quality of academic research.

It also performed particularly well in the financial framework conditions category, in which the leading nations are “characterized by a public sector ready to perform or support R&D activities, and the availability of risk capital for private companies to develop new technologies”.

One of the conclusions of the 2016 study is that the most innovative countries like Sweden are the ones that perform best on all measures, reflecting a balanced national research and innovation system.

Sweden’s overall innovation performance was rated as well above the EU average, with the only other above average performing countries being Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands.

It wasn't all good news for Sweden however. In the regional extension of the study – the Regional Innovation Scoreboard – the Stockholm region’s innovation performance decreased by 10 percent compared to two years ago, though it retained “innovation leader” status.