Inequalities in the Research and Innovation Landscapes of EU Member States - State of the Affairs and Implications

Friday, 3 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
TW1.3.01 (Tower One)
Anita Pelle, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary
EU member states are full and equal members of the EU’s common research and innovation instruments. In this respect, there is a ‘level playing field’ for all of them. On the other hand, countries' research and innovation landscapes, and thus their capacities for participation in the European programmes, are rather far from being levelled. In this study, we make an attempt to draw this overall European landscape with all its specifities along the member states. We investigate commonly used and less popular dimensions of countries’ research and innovation capacities. Source of the data involved in our investigation are the Eurostat, the EU budget, the common research and innovation programmes, but also results from the Executive Opinion Survey carried out yearly by the World Economic Forum.

Our results highlight a striking friction within the EU – no more between old and new member states, but between the Northern and Western core countries and the Southern and Eastern periphery. In our view, the main implication of this inequal setting is that defining rules for a ‘level playing field’ while the field is not levelled will result in the further deepening of the internal gap. This main implication can then be thought further: How is this internal gap influencing the EU’s capacities as a whole in the medium term? What can and should be done to put an end to the further increase of the internal inequalities in countries’ chances? The answer, we believe, lies in a more complex and more sophisticated approach to the issue, and the legitimacy of such an approach derives from the fact that that would be the interest of the EU as a community.