As the project draws to an end, we can draw a number of conclusions about the Innovation Union.
The analysis of the 34 commitments of the Innovation Union from a National System of Innovation perspective revealed four types of innovation systems:
- Strongly developed (all parts of the innovation system are well-developed and competitive)
- Public-policy led (active science & technology & innovation policies but not so well-developed private sector; overall good performance);
- Developing (strongly dependent on external knowledge; weak performance, but public policy important for advancing the system);
- Lagging behind (depending strongly on external knowledge; weak performance, weak public policy initiatives).
It has been shown that, while some of the commitments allow the countries in the developing and lagging behind groups to catch up with those in the most advanced innovation groups, a majority of the commitments tend to increase the innovation divide within the European Innovation System (EIS).
There is a high fragmentation of research along country boundaries and, with it, a lack of transparency and duplication of research efforts. This heterogeneity between countries is due to different national priorities, regulations and overlapping societal challenges.
To perform an accurate evaluation of some of the commitments of the IU, the micro data needed are simply lacking. Either the concepts are not clearly defined or the goals are set clearly but the appropriate data have not yet been collected.
There may be conflicts between the European Community and local or sectoral interests. Implementation may become problematic when local participation requires financing that was not put aside for it. In the end, innovation may no longer be the primary drive.