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Global Innovation Index 2020: Impact of COVID-19 on Global Innovation

According to GII 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to impede some innovative activities. On the other hand, it may also help drive ingenuity and global collaboration in science.

Global Innovation Index 2020

Right after we published a post on GII 2019, we noticed that GII 2020 has already been released on September 2. The theme of GII 2020 is Who Will Finance Innovation. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic downturn, it is timely to look at the findings of GII to see how the current crisis has impacted innovation financing.

Findings

In brief, GII found that the venture capital across North America, Asia, and Europe are declining significantly. The continuous growth of venture capital beginning from 2003 was disrupted by the pandemic. In addition, GII also discovered that early-stage ventures and R&D intensive start-ups are more affected by this shortage of innovation financing.

Looking at the bright side, the crisis also leads to some positive outcomes, like:

  • the unexpected level of international collaboration in science
  • the reduction of red tape (excessive rules and formalities) for scientists
  • the catalyzing of innovation in sectors such as health, education, tourism and retail.

Post-COVID Scenario

In order to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic, governments have been setting up relief packages to help businesses stay afloat. However, except for research on coronavirus vaccine, R&D and innovation are not the priorities in these packages.

GII points out that a “crisis-induced decline in innovation expenditure will reduce opportunities for future long-term growth.” Hence, when the pandemic is over or under control, it is very important to continue the support for innovation in an anti-cyclical way, even in the face of a higher public debt. Besides, GII also warned that with the increase of unilateralism and nationalism, international openness and collaboration are under threat.

 

— By Poon Sau Ping, Research Support Services, Library

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published September 24, 2020

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