For the first time, Catalonia has risen in the European rankings, becoming a strong innovator in the European Commission's 2023 European Innovator Ranking. Thus, the overall innovation index in Catalonia is above the European Union average and no longer occupies the position of moderate innovator.
In this study, Catalonia's overall innovation index is 105.9 points, compared to 98.9 points in the last edition of the European Innovation Scoreboard 2021. In other words, Catalonia's overall indicator is above the European Union average (100 points).
According to the document, the European Commission highlights, in particular, the level of sales of innovative products by Catalan companies concerning their total turnover, employment in ICT services, and continuous training throughout their working life.
Catalonia also ranks above the EU average in areas such as trademark applications, scientific publications, population with tertiary education, people with digital skills, and employment in knowledge-intensive activities.
According to the Minister of Business and Labour, Roger Torrent, "the European Innovation Scoreboard 2023 certifies a change of trend in Catalonia in the field of innovation". Torrent highlights that "for the first time, we have reached the category of strong innovators" and that "we are beginning to see the results of the policies we are developing, such as the National Industrial Pact: policies for the future, shared with industry and based on public-private cooperation."
“We aim to be an innovation leader in the future, given the innovative capacity of Catalonia's companies, universities, technology and research centers”
Roger Torrent, Minister of Business and Labour
Nevertheless, the Minister emphasizes that "our goal is to reach the category of innovation leader in the future, which is what we aim for, taking into account the innovative capacity of Catalan companies, universities, technology, and research centers."
In this sense, the Minister announced that by 2023, the Catalan government, through ACCIÓ -Catalonia Trade & Investment, the business competitiveness agency of the Department of Business and Labour, "will increase the budget allocated to innovation and R&D projects of Catalan companies by 35%, to more than 56 million euros". In addition, new lines of aid will be launched next year to promote new technological innovation projects, the growth of "deep tech" start-ups, and access to Horizon Europe European funds.
For his part, the Minister of Research and Universities, Joaquim Nadal, defended the strategic value that "the Catalan knowledge system continues to improve the transfer and innovation indicators to consolidate Catalonia's position as a scientific hub in Southern Europe."
In this line, Minister Nadal emphasized "the unquestionable commitment of the government to research, as well as the prioritization of innovation," included in the Science Law of Catalonia, with its strategy for innovation and knowledge transfer that will be deployed in the coming months and that will allow "complementing basic research with innovation in the productive fabric, as well as the creation of companies linked to the research system."
Minister Nadal highlighted the policies "to consolidate in Catalonia a solid scientific arc of centers, large infrastructures, and research equipment, doubling the capacity of the Catalan knowledge system to continue contributing its specific weight to the progress of research."
European Innovation Scoreboard
The European Innovation Scoreboard, created by the European Commission in 2001, collects 21 indicators at the regional level related to four areas: framework conditions (human resources, level of digitization or scientific publications), investment (financial support, R&D expenditure or use of ICT), innovation activities (companies with innovative products or processes, collaboration between companies or use of ICT, collaboration between companies or number of patents) or impact (number of employees in knowledge-intensive activities and innovative companies or high-tech exports).
Based on these indicators, the European Commission classifies European regions into four categories: innovation leaders, strong innovators, moderate innovators, and emerging innovators. A region is considered an innovation leader if its score exceeds 125% of the EU average (=100%). A region is considered a strong innovator if it scores between 100% and 125% of the EU average (=100%), a moderate innovator if it scores between 70% and 100%, and an emerging innovator if it scores below 70% of the EU average.