Innovation in Portugal European Innovation Scoreboard

Innovation in Portugal and Comparison with the European Union

The European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) annual report - European Innovation Scoreboard, made available by the European Commission, bases its study on ten dimensions grouped into four criteria: structural conditions, investments, innovation activities and impact. Each dimension includes specific indicators, in a total of 27 indicators. According to these indicators, innovation in Portugal places it among the countries “strongly innovative”, With a rating of 96,7.

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European Innovation Scoreboard

Let's look at the 27 indicators, aggregated in dimensions and groups, as mentioned, comparing the performance of Portugal with the European Union (EU) and the score of innovation in Portugal in relation to the EU average.

Table 1 - Innovation in Portugal; European Innovation Scoreboard
ItemStructure, Dimension, IndicatorPortugalUE
Overseas hubsGlobal Innovation Index96,7105,1
1.00.00Structural Conditions
1.01.00Human Resources91,2105,1
1.01.01• New PhDs93,2102,7
1.01.02• Population aged between 25 and 34 years, with higher education85,1108,3
1.01.03• Continuous formation96,9104,4
1.02.00Attractive research and development systems118,4135,2
1.02.01• International scientific co-publications130,9192,2
1.02.02• Most cited publications91,491,5
1.02.03• PhD students abroad153,6177,1
1.03.00Environment favorable to innovation130,7227,2
1.03.01• Broadband penetration178,3410,0
1.03.02• Entrepreneurship driven by opportunities76,6104,4
2.01.00Finance and support83,383,3
2.01.01• R&D investment in the public sector86,986,9
2.01.02• Venture capital investment79,279,2
2.02.00Business investments95,8124,5
2.02.01• R&D expenses in the business sector46,353,0
2.02.02• Expenditure on non-R&D innovation114,5160,5
2.02.03• Companies offering training to develop ICT skills127,8176,9
3.00.00Innovation activities
3.01.01• SME product / process innovations177,0176,4
3.01.02• SME marketing / organizational innovations151,8124,6
3.01.03• SMEs innovating internally195,2170,0
3.02.01• Innovative SMEs collaborating with other105,0104,3
3.02.02• Public-private co-publications47,453,6
3.02.03• Private co-financing of public R&D investment46,446,9
3.03.00Intellectual assets75,870,8
3.03.01• Patent registration, International Patent System (Patent Cooperation Treaty - PCT)49,746,1
3.03.02• Trademark applications102,9109,5
3.03.03• Design applications88,274,0
4.01.00Impacts on employment89,196,1
4.01.01• Employment in knowledge-intensive activities65,070,3
4.01.02• Employment in fast-growing companies108,6117,0
4.02.00Sales impacts55,755,4
4.02.01• Export of medium and high technology products60,767,3
4.02.02• Exports of knowledge-intensive services38,539,8
4.02.03• Sales of innovations, new to the market or companies70,759,1

Based on this information, the 2020 European Innovation Scoreboard highlights the dimensions following, as being the strongest and in that order:

  • Innovators; 174,9
  • A favorable environment for innovation; 130,7
  • Attractive research systems; 118,4

In the Innovators domain, Portugal is a Strong Innovator having, in fact, the highest performance in the EU, 174,9, with an average of 156,3.

In the fields of environment favorable to innovation, it is in 7th place and attractive research systems, in 11th position.

Of these dimensions, indicators where Portugal scores particularly well are:

  1. SMEs innovating internally; 195,2
  2. Broadband penetration; 178,3
  3. SMEs with product or process innovations; 177,0
  4. PhD students abroad; 153,6

On the other hand, dimensions of Innovation in which Portugal has a lower score are, in this order:

  • Sales impacts; 55,7 in 24th position
  • Interconnections; 63,0 in 20th position
  • Intellectual assets; 75,8 in 17th position

And of these, the indicators with the lowest scores in Portugal are:

  1. Exports of knowledge-intensive services; 38,5
  2. Research and Development (R&D) expenses in the business sector; 46,3
  3. Private co-financing of public investment in R&D; 46,4
  4. Public-private co-publications; 47,4

The classification of the 27 EU Member States

The European Innovation Scoreboard classifies member states into the following groups:

Leaders in Innovation

They have a Global Innovation Index score above 125.

This group includes Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Holland and Luxembourg

The Strong Innovators

This is the group whose scores are between 95 and 125. Belgium, Germany, Austria, Ireland, France, Estonia and Portugal are located here.

Moderate Innovators and Modest Innovators

The remaining 15 are positioned in these two groups, with performances between 50 and 95 or less than 50, respectively.

The same report also shows that in relation to the Community average, the indicators in which Portugal is in a better position are the following:

Tabela 2
% of business creation (> 10 employees)1,51,1
% of entrepreneurial activity12,96,7
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) net inflows (% GDP)3,62,6

On the other hand, the most negative differences are

Tabela 3
Investment in R&D by top companies per 10 million inhabitants4,216,2
Share of employment in industry17,216,6
… Of which, job share in the high and medium technology industry19,2037,50
Employment share in services41,4041,40
… Of which, employment share in knowledge-intensive services30,7034,30
GDP (€) per capita (Purchasing Power Parity-PPC)2310029100

The Innovation Path in Portugal

As Peter Drucker said, “what gets measured, gets managed” (you can't manage without measuring what you're managing).

Even at the risk of the indicators developed by the European Innovation Scoreboard not being an absolute truth, it is better to have information that gives us some guidance in relation to reality, than not to have any information. In the words of Warren Buffett, "It is better to be approximately right than to be precisely wrong."

With Portugal in the group of Strong Innovators, what can we do to continue improving our performance?

Can we analyze what our European partners do and, in particular, what are the indicators of the European leader?

The European leader in Innovation is Sweden.

Let us verify the biggest differences between Portugal and Sweden, in some dimensions, according to the referred European Innovation Scoreboard.

Table 4 - Portugal Sweden comparison
ItemStructure, Dimension, IndicatorPortugalSweden
Overseas hubsGlobal Innovation Index96,7140,7
1.00.00Structural Conditions
1.01.00Human Resources91,2188,4
1.01.01• New PhDs93,2144,8
1.01.02• Population aged between 25 and 34 years, with higher education85,1157,1
1.01.03• Continuous formation96,9284,5
1.02.00Attractive research and development systems118,4184,7
1.02.01• International scientific co-publications130,9257,3
1.02.02• Most cited publications91,4132,8
1.02.03• PhD students abroad153,6198,1
1.03.00Environment favorable to innovation130,7178,3
1.03.01• Broadband penetration178,3178,3
1.03.02• Entrepreneurship driven by opportunities76,6178,4
2.01.00Finance and support83,3122,1
2.01.01• R&D investment in the public sector86,9144,8
2.01.02• Venture capital investment79,296,3
2.02.00Business investments95,8135,2
2.02.01• R&D expenses in the business sector46,3163,6
2.02.02• Expenditure on non-R&D innovation114,592,2
2.02.03• Companies offering training to develop ICT skills127,8150,0
3.00.00Innovation activities
3.01.01• SME product / process innovations177,0117,0
3.01.02• SME marketing / organizational innovations151,8105,5
3.01.03• SMEs innovating internally195,2124,3
3.02.01• Innovative SMEs collaborating with other105,0147,8
3.02.02• Public-private co-publications47,4298,5
3.02.03• Private co-financing of public R&D investment46,482,5
3.03.00Intellectual assets75,8131,3
3.03.01• Patent registration, International Patent System (Patent Cooperation Treaty - PCT)49,7155,6
3.03.02• Trademark applications102,9125,0
3.03.03• Design applications88,2100,4
4.01.00Impacts on employment89,1155,5
4.01.01• Employment in knowledge-intensive activities65,0163,8
4.01.02• Employment in fast-growing companies108,6148,9
4.02.00Sales impacts55,789,7
4.02.01• Export of medium and high technology products60,796,7
4.02.02• Exports of knowledge-intensive services38,5105,8
4.02.03• Sales of innovations, new to the market or companies70,759,4

In the dimension of Human Resources the difference in the Swedish indicator is more than 100%.

From what we can conclude from the analysis, a big boost that we can all give is to invest in continuous formation, throughout life. There is a huge difference, 193,6%, between Portugal and Sweden. And, in this chapter, we all know that knowledge changes at great speed and what we learn in the School after a few years is out of date.

Professional experience is very important and can only be acquired by working. However, all the new knowledge that is being acquired cannot be forgotten, because it will enrich our capacity to innovate and produce.

Companies must be strongly committed to training their employees' new skills, whether technical or behavioral. As well, they cannot expect training to be offered to them either.

It is necessary to study and value yourself, using the various possibilities that are available today, from the book, to the ebook, to e-learning, short seminars or specialized courses in the areas that you consider important for your appreciation.

There are opportunities here for Universities and Polytechnics to create new face-to-face or remote courses and teaching support platforms, such as of Swedish origin.

Na academic training of young people between the ages of 25 and 34 we also have a large gap, 84,6% in relation to Sweden, but here we depend on the response of the existing university and polytechnic structures and the opportunities that these young people have in attending them.

In the dimension of business investments, we can see a notable difference in investigation and development that companies invest consecrate. Sweden has an indicator that is 253,3% higher!

Support is welcome, but it seems that here again, the skills and knowledge that both employees and entrepreneurs have is important. If the entrepreneur does not have certain knowledge, he must surround himself with professionals who hold them in order to help boost innovation and the production of new ideas operating the transformation into new products and services.

Also in the ability to offer ICT training to their employees, Portuguese companies are below the community average with a gap of 38,4% and in relation to the Swedish with an additional 17,4%.

In the field of Interconnections we are 138,9% different from Sweden. In all indicators, our position is always much lower. We need our companies to collaborate more with public entities, not only co-financing public investment but also associating with each other, collaborating with laboratories, research and teaching centers so that new ideas, products and services can emerge.

This collaboration can enhance the international patent registration, in which the public sector can also collaborate, facilitating this registration with support for this investment. Sweden has an indicator that is 213,1% higher than that of Portugal!

We will continue this journey, innovating and adding value to our economy.

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