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Austria is one of the most innovative countries in the EU



April 1, 2010

Austria’s declared aim is to rank among Europe’s three most innovative economies.

Based on the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) presented by the European Commission on 17 March 2010, Austria has succeeded in consolidating its position among Europe’s top innovative countries. “Austria is already one of the EU’s most innovative countries but cannot rest on its laurels after having been ranked sixth”, stated Austrian Minister for Economic Affairs Reinhold Mitterlehner. To make it “into the group of innovation leaders or even Europe’s top three”, more enterprises active in research were required. This was the only way to ensure long-term economic upswing and qualified economic growth, stressed the Minister. Austria’s declared aim is to rank among Europe’s three most innovative economies.

Particularly the substantial investments in research, technology and innovation (RTI) made by small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) proved that Austria was heading in the right direction, stated Mitterlehner. According to the Innovation Scoreboard, Austria exceeded the EU average significantly for the following indicators: R&D expenditure of the private sector (number four in the EU), percentage of innovation-oriented SMEs (number three), SMEs engaged in RTI cooperation (number four) as well as the share of SMEs having introduced a product or process innovation (number two). On the whole, the R&D expenditure in Austria increased more strongly and steadily than in most other EU Member States,

Despite tight budgets, the innovation stimulus programs necessary to achieve top rankings are not cut but stepped up in 2010. Initiatives such as the “Innovation Cheque” and the cooperation program for SMEs COIN (Cooperation & Innovation) have been designed to continue increasing the number of enterprises active in research. In parallel, the service sector and creative industry will receive increased support. Furthermore, significantly more equity is available for innovative investments this year.