Sweden crowned EU’s ‘most innovative nation’ in new EU Commission study

Sweden has been crowned the ‘most innovative nation’ in the EU in the 2019 Innovation Scoreboard published by the European Commission – with Stockholm named the second-most innovative region in a separate study.

The scoreboard, which places EU countries into four innovation categories – innovation leaders, strong innovators, moderate innovators and modest innovators – has been published annually since 2007, and ranks EU nations by innovation performance.

Sweden’s score of 147.74 makes the winter wonderland nation the EU’s most innovative leader, followed by Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands. The four nations all perform 20 per cent or more over the EU average.

Bulgaria and Romania ranked lowest in the 2019 study, with scores of 48.72 and 34.13 respectively. On average, the EU’s innovation performance has increased 8.8 per cent since 2011 and at global level, it has surpassed the United States.

The Regional Innovation Scoreboard is an extension of the European Innovation Scoreboard, covering 238 regions of 23 EU member states.

Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, was ranked the second-most innovative region on the continent, behind Helsinki-Uusimaa, Finland.

The announcement comes as Sweden prepares to find out whether it has been awarded the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games for the first time ever, with Stockholm playing a central part in the bid.

The Stockholm Åre 2026 campaign outlines extensive plans to harness digital and future technologies to deliver a hyper-connected athlete, fan and media experience, plus utilise green technologies to achieve the most sustainable Olympic Games in history.

Sweden’s capital, Stockholm has long been a powerhouse in digital and entertainment production and has been ranked the world’s most prolific tech hub on a per capita basis, behind only Silicon Valley.

The European Innovation Scoreboard is composed of 10 dimensions: Human Resources; Attractive research systems; Innovation-friendly environment; Finance and support; Firm investments; SME innovators; Linkages; Intellectual assets; Employment impacts; and Sales impacts. The most innovative countries perform best on all measures.

In order to achieve a high level of innovation performance, countries need a balanced innovation system, performing well across all dimensions.

They need an appropriate level of public and private investment in education, research and skills development, effective partnerships between industry and academia, as well as an innovation-friendly business environment, including strong digital infrastructure, competition on the markets and efficient allocation of resources.

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