Most north-western European countries perform above the EU average when it comes to innovation. Denmark has been near the top of the annual “European Innovation Scoreboard” for years. On 6 July 2023 Denmark finally reached the top. The European Union pronounced the small Scandinavian country “Top Innovator” in front of 27 EU- and 11 non-EU-countries.
For Copenhagen Science City, Denmark’s position as the top innovator in Europe is extremely good news. It supports our claim, that our innovation district is possibly the best place in Europe to launch or scale your innovation-based business”: Kristoffer Klebak. Head of Secretariat. Copenhagen Science City.
A blend of qualities
DENMARK is now an Innovation Leader with a performance at 137.6% of the EU average. Getting to that point is about much more than just getting good ideas and realizing them. For a society to be a “Top Innovator” in the eyes of the European Union, the country needs to perform well in several areas. Some to do with getting good ideas. Some to do with financing their development.
Publication, education, and environment
In Denmark, public research institutions are very good at publishing scientific papers together with private enterprises (468% of EU average) and with academic institutions in other countries (247% of EU average). The country is also good at attracting doctorate students from abroad (210% of EU average) and at keeping its own population well educated throughout their lives (256% of EU average). Finally, Denmark has a global position of strength where it comes to environment-related technologies (190% of EU average).
Rise in capital availability
For decades it has been an article of faith among Danish innovation entrepreneurs, that Denmark was not an easy country to raise capital in. This picture has been changing since 2016 and Denmark has risen in venture capital expenditures to where it is now at 130 percent of the EU average, while R&D expenditures in the public sector are also relatively high in Denmark. (146% of EU average)
Sales taking an upswing
Money for innovation tends to dry up if investors see little or no return on their investments. Here too, Denmark is doing well compared to its European peers. The country’s exports of knowledge-intensive services are at 140 percent of the EU average and sales of innovative products have risen to 115 percent of the EU average.
Other so-called “Innovation Leaders” are Finland, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Meanwhile United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Ireland, Cyprus, and France are all ranked as “Strong Innovators”, performing above the EU average.