Asia and Europe Dominate Index Of Most Innovative Countries

The Bloomberg Innovation Index named South Korea as the top country in the world for research and development, manufacturing resources, and concentration of high-tech corporations. Singapore followed in second place, and Switzerland, Germany, and Sweden filled out the top five. European countries with the exception of Israel occupied the top 10.

Published annually, the index reflects data gathered by multiple global organizations, including the United Nations and World Bank. The United States and China, as the largest economies, were notably absent from the top 10. Traditionally, the United States had held the top spot, but declines in research and development and STEM education have become increasingly evident on the world stage.

Puhung High School exam location for the South Korea Scholastic Ability Test. Credit: Golyeo

New Patents Put South Korea On Top

A surge in patent activity within South Korea earned it the top rank for 2020. South Korean public and private leadership almost universally recognize that the country’s future depends on R&D said a professor at Seoul National University. For that reason, the society heavily promoted STEM education.

U.S. Still Riding Cold War Coattails

A professor at Case Western Reserve University criticized the state of R&D in the United States. He said large U.S. companies mostly prioritize “frivolous” consumer-related technology innovations. The private sector’s success still derived primarily from the country’s technical advances from the 1960s and 1970s when R&D was a central focus.

Seoul National University of Science and Technology

Fewer STEM Graduates In The U.S.

The high cost of higher education in the United States appears to be stifling the number of people getting STEM degrees. Additionally, international students studying in the United States tend to return to their countries of origin.

The decline of the STEM workforce has concerned the U.S. military. A January 2021 report from the Pentagon about the nation’s industrial base expressed alarm about shortages of qualified workers. The report said that the U.S. STEM education system had become degraded. As a result, U.S. industry no longer had sufficient access to technical talent.

Has a lack of talented candidates affected your company? Comment about the quality of STEM candidates for new positions.

ABOUT Case Western Reserve University

There’s a reason we’re ranked as one of the nation’s leading research universities: With programs spanning the arts and sciences, engineering, health sciences, law, management, and social work, our groundbreaking research and enriching education allow our students, faculty, staff and alumni to think beyond the possible,

With cutting-edge facilities and programs dedicated to help make startups successful, Case Western Reserve promotes a true culture of innovation.

The Larry Sears and Sally Zlotnick Sears think[box] is Case Western Reserve’s world-class public-access makerspace. Spanning seven stories and 50,000 square feet, the innovation center is a complete ecosystem for venture creation. The space includes everything from design and ideation resources to prototyping and fabrication equipment, as well as the legal and business expertise needed to launch a startup.

Plus, offices like CWRU LaunchNET, the Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer help students, faculty and staff turn ideas into reality.

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