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SETIS - SET Plan information system
Specific report

Monitoring R&I in Low-Carbon Energy Technologies


Publication date
1 January 2017
Joint Research Centre


The aim of this report is to present the methodologies that SETIS applies for the evaluation of selected key performance indicators (KPIs) used in the State of the Energy Union report to measure progress in research and innovation (R&I) in Europe and thus provide the necessary theoretical background to underpin the SETIS contributions to the same document.. This report addresses key conceptual and operational points that are important for the interpretation and use of these results in the policy debate, such as the timing of data availability, information sources, methodological caveats, or the level of disaggregation of reported results. The overall aim is to make the work of SETIS on these KPIs fully transparent, with regards to both data and methodology. This would allow stakeholders to review both the methodology used and the outcome, and also trigger feedback to the JRC that would lead to the further improvement of data collection, processing and evaluation mechanisms.

The main methodological points for the key indicators can be summarised as follows:

  • The technology coverage follows the integrated SET Plan structure, showing the links between the Energy Union R&I and Competitiveness priorities, the SET Plan Integrated Roadmap and the 10 SET Plan actions. 
  • Trends in patents: The data source is PATSTAT, the Worldwide Patent Statistical Database created and maintained by the European Patent Office (EPO). A full dataset for a given year is completed with a 3.5-year delay; thus detailed data have a 4-year delay. Estimates with a 2-year lag are provided at EU28 level. The data specifically address advances in the area of low-carbon energy and climate mitigation technologies (Y02 scheme of the Cooperative Patent Classification). Datasets are processed in-house to eliminate errors and inconsistencies. Patent statistics are based on the priority date, simple patent families and fractional counts of submissions made both to national and international authorities to avoid multiple counting of patents.
  • Private R&I investments: Data are estimated based on financial information from publicly available company statements and patent data from PATSTAT. As with patent data, complete data series have a 4-year delay. Estimates with a 2-year time lag are made at EU28 level.
  • Public (national) R&I investments: The International Energy Agency (IEA) statistics are the main source of data. They address 20 of the EU Member States, but both the regularity of reporting and the granularity of technological detail vary. There is a 2-year time delay in reporting for most Member States. Data gaps are supplemented by the Member States through the SET Plan Steering Group and/or through targeted data mining. Additional estimates are provided based on the correlation of macroeconomic indicators such as GBAORD and/or GDP.
Monitoring R&I in Low-Carbon Energy Technologies


Monitoring R&I in Low-Carbon Energy Technologies