World’s 25 biggest innovators are not from Silicon Valley!


Silicon Valley’s has its hoodie-wearing tech entrepreneurs as the poster kids of innovation. You can find a similar story over in Silicon Alley New York (like at AlleyNYC), or in Tel Aviv, Israel. Disruption is the name of the game. But according to a new study by Thomson Reuters the real source of innovation starts at government. The conclusion of their survey finds that innovators working to create change in this world are more likely to wear suits and hold civil service jobs in Grenoble, Munich or Tokyo than go to Berkeley or MIT.

That’s the conclusion of Reuters’ Top 25 Global Innovators – Government, a list that identifies and ranks the publicly funded institutions doing the most to advance science and technology. Consider that it took a government agency to put a man on the moon, and even in the age of the Internet, governments are still moving science and technology forward. What would medical imaging be without armies and the aerospace industry?

It takes pure research to make bold steps in innovation: a limitation that private companies often find it hard to justify and afford.

It was, after all, publicly funded organizations that split the atom, invented the Internet, and mapped the human genome.

Want to collaborate with the best? European institutions dominate the list, accounting for nine out of 25 ranked institutions, more than any other continent. Asia comes in second with eight institutions. North America might have only seven institutions on the list, but taken on a country-by-country basis, the United States dominates, with six organizations ranked. France and Japan each have four, and Germany has three.

To compile the ranking, the IP & Science division of Thomson Reuters began by identifying more than 500 global organizations – including universities, nonprofit charities, and government-funded institutions – that published the most articles in academic journals.

Then they identified the total number of patents filed by each organization and evaluated each candidate on factors including how many patents it filed, how often those applications were granted, how many patents were filed to global patent offices in addition to local authorities and how often the patents were cited by other patents. Candidates were also evaluated in terms of the number of articles published by researchers in academic journals, how often those papers were cited by patents and how many articles featured a co-author from industry.

Finally, they trimmed the list so that it only included government-run or funded organizations, and then ranked them based on their performance.

This list is presented below:

The Reuters Top 25 Global Innovators – Government

1. Alternative Energies & Atomic Energy Commission (France)
2. Fraunhofer Society (Germany)
3. Japan Science & Technology Agency (Japan)
4. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (U.S.)
5. National Center for Scientific Research (France)
6. Korea Institute of Science & Technology (South Korea)
7. National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan)
8. U.S. Department of Energy (U.S.)
9. Agency for Science, Technology & Research (Singapore)
10. French Institute of Health & Medical Research (France)
11. Helmholtz Association (Germany)
12. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (U.S.)
13. RIKEN (Japan)
14. National Research Council of Canada (Canada)
15. Max Planck Society (Germany)
16. Chinese Academy of Sciences (China)
17. Pasteur Institute International Network (France)
18. National Institute for Materials Science (Japan)
19. United States Navy (U.S.)
20. Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (Australia)
21. Spanish National Research Council (Spain)
22. Academica Sinica (Taiwan)
23. United States Army (U.S.)
24. National Aeronautics & Space Administration (U.S.)
25. Russian Academy of Sciences (Russian Federation)

Thanks to Terry Waghorn from Katerva for the tip. Katerva is like the CIA for the environment. It uses its large network of researchers and implanted influencers to find ideas that create change on this earth quickly. Katerva then supports and promotes these innovations inside its network and to the global community at an annual awards ceremony likened to the Nobel Prize of sustainability.

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