Enhancing the Knowledge Economy (Social and Territorial Cohesion)

The knowledge economy must be encouraged, along with social and territorial cohesion, if the Innovation Union is to be successful. The commitments that fall within this area are: Maximising social and territorial cohesion; the European Social Innovation Pilot; the Public Sector Innovation Scoreboard/Research Programme on Public Sector and Social Innovation; and Consulting social partners on interaction between the knowledge economy and the labour market.  Below are details on

Maximising social and territorial cohesion

Photo: Alan Lam

Photo: Alan Lam

In order to understand territorial patterns of innovation, we must first map the institutional system of EU support for research, development and innovation through the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund. We also need to look at how regional patterns of innovation, as well as a region’s propensity for innovation, might depend on the regions’ characteristics (e.g. its degree of urbanisation, sectoral structure, and skill endowments). Therefore, regional innovation patterns and the role of regional characteristics, along with convergence/cohesion in innovation across various regions, will be analysed.  In addition, the effects of ERDF expenditures on cohesion in innovation as well as other aspects, such as NUTS-2 for innovation/knowledge output and input indicators (e.g. R&D expenditures, employment, patents, employment by skills/occupation etc.), data on ERDF and CF expenditures on innovation for 2000-2013, and supplemental regional data will be looked at.

NB: Commitment 26, the European Social Innovation Pilot, is in the process of being clarified.

Public sector innovation scoreboard

The first step towards a public sector innovation scoreboard is to define the issues and address potential channels of impact. The primary ones among these are the need for learning, in other words, leveraging public pressure as a driver for reforms, as well as easier learning, through benchmarking, identification of best practices and setting out what should be avoided. Secondary impact channels are creating a more effective state, a better business environment, and better quality services for citizens.

Consult social partners on interaction between the knowledge economy and the labour market

Activities that have already been launched between the European Commission and its social partners will be mapped, and the role of national social partners as well as the direction of further actions planned by social partners will be looked at.

Contributing to this understanding will be a literature review (which is not explicitly required), a report, and data collection.

European Innovation Partnerships and Attracting Human Capital (EIP and Leveraging Policies Externally)

The specific objectives here are to identify the effect of the European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) on accelerated R&D and commercialization of innovations, aiming to tackle major societal challenges, to assess the effects of integrated policies of the EU and its MS on attracting highly skilled academics, researchers and innovators from third countries, as well as to determine whether the EU’s scientific cooperation with third countries (especially BRIC, the US, and the Western Balkans) enables Europe to access foreign sources of knowledge in order to tackle global challenges, and finally to evaluate the short-term, direct impacts and medium- to longer-term indirect impacts of the development of Global Research Infrastructures (GRI) along with international partners.

It covers two main areas, pooling internal EU resources and efforts through European Innovation Partnerships and global innovation cooperation. The specific commitments covered are as follows:

  • European Innovation Partnerships;
  • Retaining and attracting international talent;
  • Scientific cooperation with third countries;
  • Roll-out global research infrastructures.

Reform programs, the R&IU scoreboard and assessing innovation governance

Photo: Dennis Skley

Photo: Dennis Skley

The last three commitments involve the self-assessment of the Member States’ reform programmes, the assessment of the Research and Innovation Union scoreboard and headline indicator, and a qualitative assessment of innovation governance at the EU level and in the individual Member States. Specifically, Commitment 33 invites Member States to carry out self-assessments based on the policy features identified in Annex I of the IU and identify key challenges and critical reforms as part of their National Reform Programmes. The Commission will support this process through exchanges of best practice, peer reviews and developing the evidence base. It will also apply them to its own research and innovation initiatives. Progress will be monitored in the framework of the integrated economic coordination (“European semester”). Commitment 34, on the other hand, involves the development of a new indicator measuring the share of fast-growing innovative companies in the economy. This will require the full cooperation of Member States and international partners. Subject to these commitments, the Commission will submit the necessary proposals and take urgent action to develop this indicator within the next two years, working with the OECD as appropriate, so that it can become, over time, a new headline indicator, part of the EU2020 strategy to benchmark the EU’s performance against its main trading partners. Starting immediately, the Commission will monitor overall progress on innovation performance using the Research and Innovation Union scoreboard.