The state of the art of the Regional Innovation Frameworks (RIF) within BOOST project is assessing the current state of the art of the innovation status of the following territories, represented in the project by the 6 partner organisations:

#REGION / territoryCountryBOOST Partners
1RO11 – North-WestRomania Transilvania IT
North-West Regional Development Agency
2BG33 – North EastBulgariaBulgarian Business Forums
3EE0 – EstoniaEstoniaTartu Science Park
4DK03 – Southern DenmarkDenmarkVejle Kommune
5ES51 – CataluñaSpainCluster Digital Catalunya

Embedded into European context, the analysis first presents briefly the European innovation framework, regarding the innovation status based on main indicators and the main European programmes boosting innovation. 

The introduction into the European Innovation Framework within the BOOST context, can be downloaded here.

Embedded into national context, the next chapter provides a synthesis of the BOOST countries [Romania – Bulgaria – Spain – Estonia – Denmark], presented in a benchmarking context and in relation to EU average indicators, highlighting strengths and weaknesses form both country perspective and regional perspective, in referral to the BOOST regions only. 

The target sectors are the ones defined in the BOOST application form but the approach stays open to be able to include potential innovative sectors in future perspective. The thematic of collaboration that will be primarily addressed have been chosen based on identifying the common priorities from the partners’ regions Smart Specialization Strategies (RIS3), being clearly in line with the Green and Digital European priorities:

  • Industry 4.0
  • Cleantech and Green Transition
  • Health & Well-being
  • ICT & Digital Transformation

The detailed overview and the benchmarking of the National and Regional Innovation Status of Bulgaria, Romania, Spain, Denmark and Estonia, can be downloaded here.

The methodology used for collecting and processing data is the following: 

  • desk research for identifying latest existing strategies and analysis performed at regional and national level, including EU assessment such as Innovation Scoreboard 
  • current practices, through used cases, best practices and existing projects, initiatives and programmes, reports and surveys performed until now in the partner regions
  • structured interviews by regional facilitators and decision-making actors to evaluate the current extent of innovation level in the target sectors, including digitalization in the public administration and in the manufacturing industries of the involved regions. 

Main sources for the data analysis were Eurostat and national statistical offices. Composite indicators were also used as reference from the main European benchmarking sources: 

  • European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) – last version issued in 2022
  • Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) – last version issued in 2022
  • Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS) – last version issued in 2021
  • The European Regional Competitiveness Index (RCI) – last version issued in 2019

The annual European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) provides a comparative assessment of the research and innovation performance of EU Member States and selected third countries, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of their research and innovation systems. It helps countries assess areas in which they need to concentrate their efforts in order to boost their innovation performance. Based on their average performance scores as calculated by a composite indicator, the Summary Innovation Index, Member States fall into four different performance groups. 

The new EIS measurement framework distinguishes between 4 main types of activities, capturing 12 innovation dimensions and in total 32 different indicators:

  • Framework conditions capture the main drivers of innovation performance external to the firm and cover three innovation dimensions: Human resources, Attractive research systems, and Digitalisation. 
  • Investments capture public and private investment in research and innovation and cover three dimensions: Finance and support, Firm investments, and Use of information technologies.
  • Innovation activities capture the innovation efforts at the level of the enterprise, grouped in three innovation dimensions: Innovators, Linkages, and Intellectual assets. 
  • Impacts cover the effects of firms’ innovation activities in three innovation dimensions: Employment impacts, Sales impacts, and Environmental sustainability.

GDP per capita in purchasing power standards is a measure for interpreting real income differences between countries. Higher income can increase the demand for new innovative goods and services.

Economic growth is captured by the average annual growth rate of GDP for 2018-2020. In economies that grow faster, increasing demand may provide more favorable conditions for enterprises to sell their goods and services.

Differences in economic structures are important. In particular, differences in the share of manufacturing industry in GDP, and in the so-called high-tech activities in manufacturing and services, are important factors that explain why countries can perform better or worse on indicators like business R&D expenditures, PCT patents, and innovative enterprises. Medium-high and high-tech industries have higher technological intensities than other industries. Countries with above-average shares of these industries are expected to perform better on several EIS indicators.

Enterprises can innovate through product or business process innovation, with the latter including process, marketing and organisational innovation. Enterprises can adopt new technologies developed by other enterprises or they engage in intensive in-house research and innovation activities. The capabilities needed by enterprises to innovate are very different in kind and size. More simple aggregate indicators of the percentage of ‘innovative’ enterprises in a particular country, as those currently used in the EIS, most likely provide information of limited value to policy makers. Instead, innovation indicators should differentiate between ‘styles’ or ‘modes’ of innovation in order to provide a clear picture of the structure of innovation capabilities within different businesses, economies, and countries. Enterprise characteristics are important for explaining differences in R&D spending and innovation activities.

The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) summarizes digital performance indicators and tracks the progress of EU countries. 

The Regional Innovation Scoreboard is a regional extension of the European innovation scoreboard (EIS), assessing the innovation performance of European regions on a limited number of indicators. 

The European Regional Competitiveness Index (RCI) measures the major factors of competitiveness for all NUTS2 regions of the EU, taking into account over 70 comparable indicators for the ability of a region to offer an attractive and sustainable environment for firms and residents to live and work. 

Each of the 5 BOOST regions is analyzed into extended separate documents published on the project website.

National innovation frameworks are described in terms of governance, main players, policies, strategies and programmes both national and regional, to better understand how the research – development and innovation system is functioning in each of the BOOST countries analyzed. 

State of the art of each of the 5 BOOST regions, as an extension of the national innovation frameworks, has been described from the perspective of main indicators which contribute to innovation, enclosing economic and social indicators, as well as a SWOT analysis summarizing the sweet and the weak spots: 

The scope of the approach was to identify weak spots, near-to-market opportunities and “sweet spots” to be analyzed further on with the stakeholders, preparing the issue of potential measures to be addressed for boosting the innovation in the project target sectors

The FULL Report can be downloaded here.