QS Rankings Used in Global Innovation Index

Governments all over the world think that innovation is the key to future economic success. But how do you make an economy innovative?

Three organisations – the World Intellectual Property Organisation, part of the UN system, as well as Cornell University and French business school INSEAD – have published a new analysis of the factors behind the world’s most innovative nations. And QS data on top universities provide a key input to their research.

The use of QS data in such a prestigious report comes just a few weeks after the company’s rankings became the first to receive official approval from the International Ranking Expert Group (IREG). The independent observatory examined the QS World University Rankings and the regional rankings for Asia and Latin America.

This sixth edition of the Global Innovation Index looks at 142 nations accounting for 95 per cent of the world’s population. It looks at innovation via both inputs and outputs. The inputs are measures of each nation’s institutions, infrastructure, human capital, and market and business sophistication. The outputs are defined as new technology and knowledge, and creative production. The measures used range from stock market capitalisation to YouTube uploads.

Data from the QS World University Rankings is used to assess the quality of scientific research institutions in the nations surveyed for the report, by means of the QS ranking of their top three universities. The UK is top in this ranking. The rest of the top 10 for this measure includes the US, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, China and France. Switzerland also emerges as overall number one in the Innovation Index.

The Innovation Index also highlights some nations whose university systems emerge as an unexpected strength from this analysis. They include Germany, France, Brazil, India, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, Indonesia, Egypt and Pakistan. On the other hand, many of the nations surveyed for the Index get a zero score on this measure because they have are not home to any of the 700 universities in our ranking.

The report’s theme for 2013 is “The Local Dynamics of Innovation.” The authors point out that regional factors seem to drive innovation more than national ones. For example Cornell, one of the institutions behind the report, is also a participant in a new technology and innovation campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City. Even in this rich and developed region, the backers of this project hope that innovation will bring in talent, generate jobs and propel economic growth.

The message is confirmed by a look at the UK, whose top three universities (Cambridge, University College, London and Oxford) are all in rich cities with an enviable record of generating innovative new businesses. The top three US institutions include MIT and Harvard, neighbouring institutions with a huge economic footprint in Massachusetts, and Yale, which again boasts a long list of startup businesses.

The report’s authors point to a range of hot innovation regions around the world, including the Seoul region in Korea and Guangdong in China. They add that there are also signs of such growth in less expected nations such as Kenya, Vietnam, Tanzania and Colombia.

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