Despite limited budget, PH ranked 50th most innovative out of 131 economies in global index

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 02 2020 05:01 PM | Updated as of Sep 02 2020 09:03 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Philippines’ innovation ranking went up by 4 places, reaching the 50th spot out of 131 participating economies in this year’s Global Innovation Index (GII), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said on Wednesday. (Reference: https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/Home)

“The country’s latest performance in the GII is a testament to its continuous commitment to innovation since 2014 when it ranked 100th place. The Philippines moved up by 50 notches in just 6 years,” the DOST said in a statement.

“At the DOST, we consider this as major news because it can be considered as a testament that DOST’s efforts in spearheading science, technology, and innovation are bearing fruits,” DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña told a virtual briefing.

The GII was developed by Cornell University, graduate business school INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. It uses two sub-indices: innovation input and innovation output.

De la Peña said the GII is a leading reference on innovation.

“The Philippines, together with other three economies (China, Vietnam and India), has made the most significant progress in the GII innovation ranking over time,” he said.

“Compared to other economies in South East Asia, the Philippines performs above average in two of the seven GII pillars: Business sophistication and Knowledge & technology outputs."

LIMITED BUDGET

From a rank of 86 in 2018 on innovation input, which refer to investments and infrastructure, the Philippines went up to the 76th spot in 2019, and further up to 70th this year.

The country also improved its innovation output — knowledge, technology and creative outputs — from a rank of 68 in 2018 to 42 in 2019, and 41 in 2020.

The country’s ability to produce more outputs than inputs means that the country is an “efficient innovator,” said DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevarra.

She pointed out the country's ranking improved despite science and technology receiving only a budget increase of 10% over the last 4 years.

“It is our hope that with this very good ranking from an outside, a third party, it justifies why more budget should be given to science and technology,” she said.

Guevarra explained they were able to increase the country’s output by having more postgraduates - about 400 to 500 in the last 4 years - in the field of science.

De la Peña credited universities and those from other industries who contribute to research and development.

The DOST chief said he hopes the improved rankings “would generate a new level of confidence for our investors” and “give hope and inspiration to our people.”

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

Among the weaknesses of the Philippines cited in the index is the expenditure in education, with the country ranking 106 out of 131.

It also ranked low on ease of starting a business, ease of getting credit, and scientific and technical articles.

But the country ranked first for high-tech imports and third for high-tech exports.

It also ranked high in e-participation, utility models and ICT services exports.

De la Peña said the high ranking in utility models is “consistent with the exponential increase in Intellectual Property applications and technology transfer supported by DOST.”

“The country’s ranking in university/industry research collaboration is in the upper 25% of the GII 2020,” he said. “This is consistent with the increasing number of R&D partnerships between academe and industry that DOST has supported.”

Despite limited budget, PH ranked 50th most innovative out of 131 economies in global index 1