Lundvall, who led a group of EU Ambassadors for Creativity and Innovation last year which presented an innovation 'manifesto' to the European Commission, said Europe's new strategy is not as focused as the 15-year plan laid out by Beijing four years ago.
The Chinese innovation blueprint, which runs until 2020, was developed over a three-year period under the leadership of Premier Wen Jiabao.
''It has defined 99 specific tasks and each of these tasks is allocated to a specific organisation and with a single individual responsible for implementation. As far as I understand the process, the original draft prepared under the auspices of the [Chinese] Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) was not accepted by the prime minister – himself a former professor in geology – because it was too general and in a new round the different authorities involved had to specify the tasks to be pursued,'' Lundvall explained.
He also warned that subsidiarity issues could hamper implementation if national governments fail to deliver on the good intentions of the Commission.
However, he said that while Europe's new plan might not prove effective, it will face little resistance from interest groups.
''My guess is that nonetheless, the Innovation Union document will be generally well-received when presented to research communities, business communities and policymakers. It does not propose anything that is controversial. The question is how it can be transformed into an operational form where specific organisations and individuals are made responsible for the implementation of the strategy,'' Lundvall told EurActiv.
He is also critical of what he sees as disproportionate attention paid to scientific research. ''The document reflects that it has been produced with the commissioner for science as primarily responsible – this is reflected in the terminology, where it refers to the 'research and innovation system'. If you look closely, you find that the most relevant dimensions of the innovation process are covered but sometimes as 'additions' to the main line of argument, which links science and technology to economic performance,'' according to the professor.
Lundvall, who has worked on innovation policy in several countries, including China, said one major weakness of Europe's innovation plan is that it takes a general approach instead of setting out different policies to suit individual sectors and regions.
''The total set of recommendations is biased in favour on science-based activities as compared to sectors where innovation is learning-based. My view is that only a complete change of strategy - where the focus moves toward the regions, countries and social groups most exposed to globalisation and aiming at a higher degree of equity - can contribute to forming a sustainable Europe,'' he said.