Helsinki-Uusimaa region tops EU in innovation

The Helsinki-Uusimaa Region rose to the 1st rank from the 5th rank in the previous edition of the European Commission’s 2019 Regional Innovation Scoreboard published last month. The rating of the region in the scoreboard’s assessment was its highest ever during the assessment history. Finland is in second place in the scoreboard country ranking. 

The Regional Innovation Scoreboard is a regional extension of the European Commission’s Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS), which is a comparative assessment conducted once in every two years, assessing the innovation performance of European regions on a number of indicators. The member states are categorised into four performance groups: innovation leaders, strong innovators, moderate innovators, and modest innovators. The top group consists of Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands.

The RIS 2019 covers 238 regions across Europe, five of them in Finland: (1) Helsinki-Uusimaa, (2) Etelä-Suomi (Southern Finland), (3) Länsi-Suomi (Western Finland), (4) Pohjois- ja Itä-Suomi (Northern and Eastern Finland) and (5) Åland (Ahvenanmaa).

The most innovative region in the EU is Helsinki-Uusimaa, Finland, followed Stockholm, Sweden and Hovedstaden, Denmark. The overall most innovative region in Europe is Zϋrich in Switzerland. Some regional innovative hubs exist also in moderate innovator countries: Prague in Czechia, Crete in Greece, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy.

The RIS assesses regional innovation with 18 indicators. According to the scoreboard, the strengths of Helsinki-Uusimaa include a high number of trademark and patent applications in relation to Gross Domestic Product, the share of jobs in knowledge-based activities of all jobs, the number of citizens engaged in lifelong learning, the overall high education level of the population, and the innovation activities of SMEs. 

The study provides comparative information for member states to assess their innovation policies not only nationally but also regionally. Finland performed well in the innovation-friendly environment, innovator and human resources dimensions. Its scores for lifelong learning, patent applications and scientific output were also well above the EU average, whereas work remains to be done in employment and sales impacts.