By Jenina P. Ibañez, Reporter

THE Philippines moved up four spots to 50th out of 131 economies on an annual list that measures their performance in innovation, becoming one of four Asian countries with the most significant progress.

The Global Innovation Index 2020, which is prepared by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, said the Philippines joined China, Vietnam, and India as countries that have shown the biggest improvement in ranking.

The Philippines reached its highest rank so far as it breaks into the top 50, after ranking 100th as recently as 2014. In 2019, the Philippines jumped 19 spots to 54th.

Philippines improves in global innovation index ranking

The country’s innovation input jumped six places to 70th, while its innovation output climbed one spot to 41st. The former measures institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, as well as market and business sophistication. The latter measures knowledge, technology, and creative output.

The Philippines according to the report improved the most in market sophistication, ranking 86th. It placed higher in investments (85th), mostly due to improved ease of protecting minority investors (71st).

“At the sub-pillar level, strengths for the Philippines are in trade, competition, and market scale (20th), knowledge absorption (7th), and knowledge diffusion (8th),” it said.

“Other relative strengths include indicators utility models by origin (8th), productivity growth (6th), high-tech net exports (3rd), ICT services exports (8th), firms offering formal training (7th), creative goods exports (10th), e-participation (19th), and high-tech imports (1st).”

In terms of weaknesses, the Philippines ranked 104th in regulatory environment as the cost of redundancy dismissal puts the country at 113th.

Under market sophistication, the country’s credit was at 118th, with ease of getting credit at 113th.

Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña, writing a chapter in the report, said the Philippines has been working to fund more projects outside Metro Manila.

He supported the Philippine Innovation Act, which will scale up education and research, as well as the Innovative Startup Act, which incentivizes businesses working on innovative entrepreneurship.

“The need to integrate policies and programs to propel innovation initiatives in the country should follow a whole-of-government approach,” he said.

The Department of Science and Technology (DoST) in February said it planned to improve the country’s ranking through research in  key agricultural sectors like coconut and livestock.

Mr. Dela Peña had said that the department would continue to provide research support for start-ups at the development stage.

The top 10 countries in the Global Innovation Index were: Switzerland, Sweden, the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Singapore, Germany and South Korea.

Other Southeast Asian countries on the list include Malaysia (33rd), Vietnam (42nd), Thailand (44th), Brunei (71st), Indonesia (85th) and Cambodia (110th).