The indicators in the table below present a synthesis of research, innovation and competitiveness in Slovakia. They relate knowledge investment and input to performance or economic output throughout the innovation cycle. They show thematic strengths in key technologies and also the high-tech and medium-tech contribution to the trade balance. The table includes a new index on excellence in science and technology which takes into consideration the quality of scientific production as well as technological development. The indicator on knowledge-intensity of the economy is an index on structural change that focuses on the sectoral composition and specialisation of the economy and shows the evolution of the weight of knowledge-intensive sectors and products and services.
The Slovak Republic is a small country, dynamic and logistically well positioned between Eastern and Western European countries. Since 2000, the country has improved the quality performance of its science and technology base, slightly changed the structure of its economy towards a higher knowledge-intensity and the weight of high-tech and medium-high-tech products in the trade balance. Slovak Republic faces the challenge of further developing its research and innovation system. Currently, the country is catching-up with respect to competitiveness. In the Slovak Republic, over the last decade, R&D intensity has steadily declined from a peak of 3.88% in 1989 to 0.68 in 2011, one of the lowest within the EU.
The rise of a dual economy limited the indigenous R&D capacity: on the one hand a predominance of foreign multinational companies with high productivity and on the other, 60,000 domestic SMEs and a few large companies typically with low productivity levels. Thus, the main challenge for the Slovak Republic consists in raising the knowledge intensity in Slovak firms through investments and spill overs. Moreover, existing public financing suffers from inefficiency, significant administrative burden and a lack of transparency of the procedures used – including those supporting regional innovation. The Slovak Republic has margins to improve its thematic concentration, including a stronger coordination between responsible public authorities, the links between business and science, and the connexion with international S&T networks In spite of the current economic and financial difficulties, Slovak authorities drafted and partly implemented comprehensive R&I strategies.
Since April 2012, the new government has reaffirmed the country’s commitment to the EU2020 targets, even if the challenges remain substantial, especially in the case of R&D intensity. Its policies include in particular, the updated “Minerva 2.0” strategy, which identifies problems, constraints and priorities, and focuses on the speedy implementation of a critical mass of measures to stimulate innovation and private R&D investment including structural reforms and the reform of funding.