The Europe 2020 Strategy set a 3% objective for R&D intensity for the EU as a whole and most Member States have adopted a national R&D intensity target for 2020. The European Semester, the EU's annual cycle of economic policy coordination, undertakes a detailed analysis of the EU Member States’ plans for R&I investment and structural reforms of national R&I systems, and provides them with recommendations.
The Annual Growth Survey 2016 highlighted that investing in R&I at national level is critical for growth and that therefore Member States should continue to prioritise public investments in R&I, ensuring their efficiency and leverage with regard to business investment. Member States need to keep up the pace of reforms to ensure an investment-friendly environment. See more information about the European Semester.
The European Semester supports Member States' structural reforms in different policy areas to promote jobs, growth and investment. Research and innovation play a key role in this context. That is why the Commission gives recommendations to and closely work with the Member States to increase the performance of their national R&I systems.
Have a look and see how the country is performing.
The Swedish research and innovation (R&I) system is characterised by highly qualified human resources, a strong science base and good research infrastructures. Nevertheless, in recent years Sweden has faced difficulties in leveraging business R&D investment despite the high quality of its R&I system. Indeed, Sweden's business R&D intensity has registered an important downward trend since 2008 (from 2.59% in 2008 to 2.12% in 2014).
Business R&D in Sweden is mainly performed by a few large multinational enterprises, which have been increasingly offshoring their R&D facilities. Moreover, the potential of Swedish innovative SMEs and start-ups has not been fully exploited yet and the collaboration between universities and businesses (in particular SMEs) is still suboptimal.
A new Innovation Council chaired by the Swedish Prime Minister was established in February 2015 to guarantee an overall coordination of research and innovation policies and programmes and to overcome these challenges. It is made up of representatives from five different ministries as well as ten elected external members from business, academia and employers’ unions. The Innovation Council aims to boost and promote the long-term competitiveness of the Swedish economy.