he new Scoreboard supports this bleak finding with more detail and greater statistical rigour than ever before. Now policy-makers can gauge more accurately the scale of the challenge that faces them, and identify with greater confidence Europe's critical weaknesses, as well as the emerging strengths on which future performance improvement must be built.
At the Lisbon European Council of March 2000, EU Member States adopted a strategy to become the world's most dynamic knowledge-based economy by the end of the decade. To this end, the Council asked the Commission to benchmark national performance in the fields of employment, innovation, enterprise and research. In particular, it requested regular collection of data on specific indicators, development of guidelines for national policies, and mutual learning or 'open co-ordination', to be carried out through peer reviews. In the key field of innovation policy, this demand is addressed by the European Trend Chart on Innovation. Piloted in 1999, and launched fully in 2000, the Trend Chart provides a framework for interaction and learning, designed to strengthen innovation policy-making and innovation performance as efficiently and rapidly as possible.
The European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) is the central and most visible element of the Trend Chart's activities. The 2003 edition presents innovation indicators and trends for the 15 EU Member States and ten acceding countries, three candidate countries and three associated countries, as well as for the US and Japan. Twenty indicators now cover human resources, the creation of new knowledge, the diffusion and application of knowledge, and innovation finance, outputs and markets. In particular, the new Scoreboard examines the service sector in greater depth than previous editions. All 20 indicators have been fully updated - in most cases drawing on Eurostat data and, for those that deal with the diffusion of knowledge, on the most recent Community Innovation Survey, carried out in 2002(1).
Concise and concrete, the findings of EIS 2003 convey a powerful message about Europe's innovation performance and provide a valuable starting point for debate - specifically, for co-operation and mutual learning between innovation policy-makers and practitioners.
(1) See "Community Innovation Survey 2000 - the first results", edition 6/02