Britain rock bottom of world innovation league


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Britain's leading businesses are innovation flops, a report will say today, with just one company in a worldwide top 100, leaving the country ranked alongside Lichtenstein.

Britain's miserable showing in the Thomson Reuters Top 100 Global Innovators, published today, compares with the US, accounting for 40 entries, and Japan, 27. In Europe, traditional rival France is the leader with 10, although Sweden also scores highly with six, followed by Germany with four.

The handful of remaining British manufacturers considered as world class, such as Rolls-Royce or BAE Systems, are absent. And it bodes ill for the Government's hopes that the country's private sector will serve as an engine of recovery by providing jobs to help ease the pain of the mass lay-offs expected in the public sector as a result of cutbacks.

The top 100 was put together byconsidering patents. As well as volume, the authors looked at success, or how often a company's applications are granted, together with global reach and influence based on how often patents are cited in future applications.

A notable omission from the top 100 is China, where despite a huge number of applications, rather fewer have been successful or had a global impact. The report's authors said their research showed companies in the top 100 added more than 400,000 new jobs in 2010 over 2009, 3 per cent more than the previous year and greater than the percentage increase in growth experienced by the broad-based US S&P 500.

Bob Stembridge, one of the report's authors, said: "The reason the UK has performed poorly could be a reflection of its economy."