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The US is getting left behind as an innovator

January 23, 2018

A new ranking claims countries in Europe and Asia have nudged America off the leaderboard of the world’s 10 most innovative nations.

The findings: Every year, Bloomberg scores countries on metrics relating to innovation—R&D activity, patents, productivity, and so on. This year, South Korea and Sweden came first and second (same as last year). Singapore was third, up from sixth in 2017. And America is 11th—outside the top 10 for the first time.

American weaknesses: Sure, the US invests heavily in R&D. But Bloomberg argues that it’s struggling to produce enough science and engineering graduates, and is adding less value through manufacturing than it has in the past. Hence the fall.

Broader concerns: America is being left behind on other research metrics as well, like how many academic papers it publishes. Maria Zuber, vice president for research at MIT, said such news raises “concerns about impacts on [America’s] economy and workforce.”

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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