Direct benchmarking between the EU and the US on the one hand, and China and India on the other, has become particularly stringent since the year 2000, when the European Union launched the Lisbon Agenda, which aimed to make the European Union the ‘most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world’ by 2010. Since then, the technological gap with the US has not only not waned, but appears to have widened – whether this is measured by scientific publications, article citations or patent intensity (Crescenzi et al., 2007). The past decade has also witnessed the dramatic rise to prominence of the ‘BRICs’ countries, especially India and China: Goldman Sachs suggests that by 2030, the largest three world economies will be the US, China and India (Wilson and Purushothaman, 2003). It is critical for European policymakers to understand the dynamics of this shifting, multipolar environment.