Despite the perennial myth of the lone genius, the fact remains that innovation depends on cooperation. And as technology becomes ever more complicated, improving that research requires larger and larger groups working together – including groups working across national borders.
In an attempt to quantify that transnational cooperation, the US-Israel Science & Technology Foundation (USISTF) has created a “U.S.-Israel Innovation Index” to measure bilateral research and development between the U.S. and other countries.
The technical training that every Israeli receives in the army produces a country of capable engineers.
“We picked 16 countries that were geographically diverse, had links to US, and had strong innovative tech companies,” USISTF Executive Director Ann Liebschutz told me. “The Index measures cooperation between US and Israel as well as other countries.”
The Index measures cooperation in several different areas of research and development, including government-to-government linkages, human capital, R&D spending and private industry. In measuring across these categories, the USISTF found that Switzerland is the U.S.’s biggest innovation partner, followed by Canada and then Israel.
“The Switzerland and Canada results showed that Israel was in good company,” said Liebschutz. “Switzerland isn’t a surprise because of the pharmaceutical industry.
One of the reasons for Israel’s strong showing, Liebschutz told me, is the strength of its population’s technical training.
“The technical training that every Israeli receives in the army produces a country of capable engineers,” she said.
One of the reasons that the USISTF created this index in the first place, Liebschutz added, was to demonstrate the value of research investments in an era of slashing budgets.
“In a time when budgets are lean, you hear a lot about cuts and priorities in terms of where the government should put its resources,” she said. “International cooperation, when done correctly, is a way to leverage those resources. Israel is good at creating international cooperation for funding in the R&D programs they establish. And they provide a great ROI when done correctly.”
“We felt this bilateral innovation index serves not just US-Israel relationship,” she added. “But the scientific community as a whole where it shows a good ROI on international cooperation.”
View original Forbes publication at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2013/12/17/canada-israel-and-switzerland-are-americas-top-innovation-partners/
From Alex Knapp, the Author:
I’ve been working as the Social Media Editor and a staff writer at Forbes since October 2011. Prior to that, I worked as a freelance writer and contributor here. On this blog, I focus on futurism, cutting edge technology, and breaking research. Follow me on Twitter – @thealexknapp. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org