Thursday 13 October 2011

EU2020: Research and development quality in Denmark

In the blog post EU2020: Denmark aims for high employment we saw that a high employment rate (75 per cent) is a headline target of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, but new reform efforts are needed to put the European Union as a whole on track.

Although somewhat dented during the crisis years, Denmark had 76.1 per cent of 20-64 year old employed, so the National Reform Programme (NRP) 2011 promises continued reforms in order to reach an employment rate of 80 per cent by 2020.

We return to the English version of the Danish Government's NRP in in order to see the plans concerning research and development:

Denmark's National Reform Programme (May 2011; 67 pages)

Research and development quality

For the EU as a whole, the EU2020 strategy aims at a quantitative target – 3 per cent of GDP – for research and development (R&D) and innovation activities by 2020, including both private and public investment.

Admittedly, this quantitative input measure is a bit primitive, but better than nothing. The European Union as a whole needs to catch up with the most innovative countries, states (USA) and regions in the world.

According to Eurostat, in 2009 the EU-27 R&D investment was just 2.01 per cent of GDP, but Denmark on 3.02 per cent had already reached the EU2020 target, third behind Finland (3.96%) and Sweden (3.62%).

The Danish research, development and innovation (RDI) strategy does not aim to throw more into the input basket, but it is focused on increasing the effectiveness of productivity in the field of research (NRP page 19).

The NRP Box 2.2 on page 20 presents new initiatives in the areas of research, development and innovation.

Annual Growth Survey

The European Commission presented its guidance for the final versions of the National Reform Programmes in its communication:

Annual Growth Survey: advancing the EU's comprehensive response to the crisis; Brussels, 12.1.2010 COM(2011) 11 final

The AGS made a few general points about research, development, innovation and competitiveness during tough times:

All Member States, especially those in excessive deficit procedure, should keep public expenditure growth firmly below the rate of medium term trend GDP growth, while prioritising sustainable growth friendly expenditure in areas such as research and innovation, education and energy (page 4).

Member States should simplify their regimes for the recognition of professional qualifications to facilitate the free circulation of citizens, workers and researchers (page 7).

To remain competitive in a globalised economy Member States must urgently begin the deep structural reforms needed to enhance the excellence of our research and our capacity to innovate, turning ideas into products and services that meet the demand of high-growth markets, taking advantage of the technological capabilities of our industry and helping SMEs to grow and internationalise (page 7).
In addition to budget priorities, the Danish government and the Commission point towards quality consciousness and RDI excellence in order to enhance competitiveness of European businesses.

Ralf Grahn

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