Estonia has been ranked among the EU’s top innovators for the first time as part of the 2019 European Innovation Scoreboard.
Released each year by the European Commission, the rankings rate EU nations — as well as countries such as North Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine — on 27 different categories, including numbers of new PhD graduates, broadband penetration, and scientific publications.
Sweden came out on top of the leaderboard, heading a group of high-performing nations dubbed by researchers as “innovation leaders”. Estonia joined the second-ranked category, “strong innovators”, for the first time, the only New East country to make the cut. Latvia and Lithuania also made strong showings, joining five other countries whose performance improved by 15 per cent or more.
Bulgaria and Romania, however, lagged at the bottom of the scoreboard, as the only EU countries to be classed as “modest innovators”, the lowest ranking given by researchers. Slovenia also struggled, dropping its “strong innovator” title and slipping into the third-tier group of “moderate innovators”.
Across the board, it was the first time that the EU’s average score beat that of the United States, although the bloc continues to lose ground to Asian rivals such as Japan and South Korea.