In this top group, national governments tend to provide considerable incentives and direct support for research and development.
Policy-makers in Sweden, Finland and Denmark have focused strongly on spurring research and innovation in the public and private sectors. However, Sweden has had troubles turning innovation into product prototypes, while Finland is weak in basic research.
South Korea’s government invests heavily in research, with protectionist measures sheltering young companies. The USA has a healthy mix of innovative public and private research , while Switzerland’s substantial research activities take place largely in the private sector, with little public spending support.
In this group, governments have pursued aggressive and targeted innovation policies, but relatively low scores in scientific education and patent rates show societal weaknesses in each.
Governments in Germany, France and Japan have directed innovation efforts toward specific areas. A new program in Germany has had considerable success in spurring R&D among small and medium-sized companies.
Iceland had the OECD’s highest share of public research funding as of 2007, through the crisis threatens to undermine that role. Luxembourg has intensified its investment in research, but much innovation activity is focused on the financial sector.
In this group, government innovation policies have had mixed results, with some states improving from a low starting point.
Canada’s academic R&D and policy support is strong, but has not translated into business productivity. Though some innovation indicators are high in the UK, R&D rates lag, while public R&D budgets have stagnated or declined in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Austria, New Zealand, Australia and Norway have some individual strengths, but public support for research and innovation is generally low. Ireland’s R&D reliance on foreign multinational investment was thrown into relief by the financial collapse.
Portugal has shown sustained investment and rising spending in both the public and private sector. However, private spending remains low in absolute terms, and education levels need improvement.
In this group, innovation policies have been weak, subject to cuts or a low priority for governments.
In the majority of countries, government support for research and development is undeveloped. Italian investments are occasionally useful, but are underfunded and lack strategic orientation. A promising post-crash turn toward a knowledge-economy orientation in Spain has been badly hampered by research spending cuts.
The Czech Republic and Hungary are dependent for applied research on foreign investment rather than dynamic indigenous high-tech sectors. Poland has improved public research funding, but public and private levels each remain low in absolute terms.
Slovakia, Chile, Greece and Mexico all show low levels of state support for research and innovation, with administrative bureaucracy or structural economic flaws undermining entrepreneurial incentives.