The annual Global Innovation Index (GII) report from Cornell University, INSEAD and WIPO has recently been published in its 9th edition. Its rankings see the UK maintain a strong top-three position worldwide, as it is evaluated once more as one of the world’s most innovative economies. Factors such as quality institutions, well-developed infrastructure and widespread ICT access contributed to continued strong performance from European economies.

The Index is derived from a variety of sources, including the World Bank and World Economic Forum, and provides a tool for businesses, policy-makers and others to understand the state of innovation in 128 economies around the world. The report considers not only conventional factors, such as infrastructure and business sophistication, but all human aspects behind innovation. In doing this, the Index is designed to promote global policies that encourage innovation as a key driver of economic growth.

The UK has ranked third in the 2016 Index – below Switzerland and Sweden, and above the USA and Finland. This high ranking puts it amongst fifteen European economies in the GII’s top 25. As in previous years, the UK offers outstanding access to ICT and university research; however, much like Japan and the USA, it has continued to travel a challenging road to recovering R&D spending since the 2009 financial crisis.

Although it ranks in the top 25 nations in most metrics on innovation input and output, the UK fails to reach this level in education, general infrastructure, knowledge absorption and knowledge diffusion. Overall, the GII praises the country’s “innovation quality”, a top-level indicator of the quality and number of universities, publications and patent filings.

The findings in this year’s report focus on the rise of globalised innovation as scientific endeavours are increasingly being pursued without borders. It was estimated in 2011 that over 35% of all scientific articles were internationally co-authored; a share increase of 10% over 15 years.

Bruno Lanvin, INSEAD Executive Director for Global Indices, commented that increasing globalisation has caused more emerging countries to successfully become innovators, and that cross-border operations are becoming more significant in providing successful innovation. Indeed, this year’s report marks the first time a middle-income country has joined the top rankings of the Index, as China ranked 25th due to the country’s improvements in innovation performance and business sophistication.

It is stated in the report that the UK boasts a highly internationalised system of science and innovation, with approximately 46% of its publications having an international co-author. The UK has excelled by establishing significant funds that enable global collaborations in research and innovation, with prime examples being the Newton Fund and 2015’s £1.3 billion Prosperity Fund. These factors mean that the UK has a very strong ability to shape and influence global innovation relationships and outcomes.

Access the full Global Innovation Index 2016 report here.

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