Australia slips in global innovation rankings

This year’s Global Innovation Index has been released, revealing that Australia has slipped in the rankings.

Australia ranked 19th in this year’s index, which is two places lower than last year. This puts Australia below other Asia-Pacific nations Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and New Zealand.

However, it is worth noting that Australia’s position on the index has fluctuated over the years. The nation reached its lowest point in 2012 with a ranking of 23, and its highest point just two/three years later in 2014 and 2015 with a ranking of 17. The nation has tended to fluctuate by two or three places each year, suggesting that this year’s results do not necessarily mean that Australia is on a downward trend.

The top five innovators were listed as Switzerland, Sweden, the UK, the US and Finland. The top five has remained relatively unchanged over the past few years.

Notably, China was ranked 25th, marking the first time a middle-income country has joined the rankings of the highly developed economies that have historically dominated the index. This reflects the nation’s improved innovation performance was well as improved innovation metrics in the index, according to theWorld Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

However, WIPO notes that an “innovation divide” still persists between developed and developing countries.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry presents the Global Innovation Index 2016 at a press conference taking place at the United Nations Office at Geneva (Image: WIPO).
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry presents the Global Innovation Index 2016 at a press conference taking place at the United Nations Office at Geneva (Image: WIPO).

“Investing in innovation is critical to raising long-term economic growth,” said WIPO director general Francis Gurry.

“In this current economic climate, uncovering new sources of growth and leveraging the opportunities raised by global innovation are priorities for all stakeholders.”

The Global Innovation Index report recommends that innovation policies more explicitly favour international collaboration and the diffusion across borders. New international governance structures should also aim to increase technology to and among developing countries, according to the report.

The index is in its ninth year, with the determining factors for innovation becoming more comprehensive each year.

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