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Regular version of the site

Russia's Ranking in Global Innovation Index

Russia has improved its ranking in the Global Innovation Index, but still has a long way to go.

Study's Authors:

Leonid GokhbergHSE First Vice Rector; Director, HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK).
Vitaliy RoudResearch Fellow, ISSEK/

Russia is 43rd in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2016, up five positions from its 2015 ranking. Just as last year, Switzerland, Sweden, U.K., U.S. and Finland remain the top-ranking countries in the GII. These are the findings from the GII 2016 report comparing the performance of national innovation systems in 128 economies.

This annual ranking is co-published by Cornell University Consortium (U.S.), INSEAD Business School (France), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). In 2016, two HSE researchers, Leonid Gokhberg, HSE First Vice Rector and Director of the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK), and Vitaliy Roud, ISSEK Research Fellow, contributed to the GII report by providing a chapter on Russia's innovation system "How to Design a National Innovation System in a Time of Global Innovation Networks: A Russian Perspective."*

Input and Output vs. Efficiency

The GII 2016 scores reveal that in terms of innovative development, Russia has retained its position among the top 35 economies in Europe and top 50 GII-ranked high-income nations. This year, Russia’s overall ranking is 43rd, up five positions from 2015 and up six positions from the 2014 rankings.

This year, the GII includes economies that represent, in total, 98% of the world's GDP and are home to 92% of the world's population.

Table 1. Russian Federation's GII ranking over time: 2014–2016



Innovation input

Innovation output

Innovation efficiency
















Russia ranks 39th in the group of 50 high-income countries and 29th among European countries.

The ranking is based on 82 variables covering different characteristics of innovation, such as institutions, human capital, research, infrastructure, market sophistication, business sophistication, knowledge and technology, and creative outputs.

The overall GII score is calculated as a simple average of the innovation input and output sub-indices, the former capturing elements that enable innovation and the latter its observable results.

According to GII 2016, Russia has consistently improved its ranking in terms of inputs (44th), but has a significantly lower ranking in efficiency (69th). This, according to the study's authors, reflects the country's lower performance in producing innovation outputs given the inputs. 

Strengths and Weaknesses

The GII ranking reveals some of the strengths and weaknesses of Russia's innovation system. Thus, Russia's competitive advantages include the development of its education system and its tertiary education enrolment.  In GII 2016, Russia ranks second in terms of employed women with advanced degrees and eleventh in terms of graduates in science and engineering and in exports of cultural and creative services.

As for the Russian innovation system's weaknesses, these include innovation linkages (112th out of 128), rule of law (104th), regulatory quality (97th), and gross capital formation (95th), as well as several other indicators where Russia is lagging behind.

Overall, Russia's strengths lie in spheres such as human capital and research (23rd), business sophistication (37th), and knowledge and technology outputs (40th), while its weaknesses are associated with institutions (73th) and market sophistication (63th). As for business sophistication (37th), Russia demonstrates both strengths (e.g. intellectual property payments, 14th) and weaknesses, including the aforementioned innovation linkages, state of cluster development (101st), and foreign investment (76th).

Table 2. Strengths and Weaknesses of Russia's Innovation System: GII 2016



Females employed with advanced degree (2nd of 128 countries)

Domestic market scale (6th)

Utility model applications by origin (7th)

Graduates in science and engineering (11th)

Cultural and creative services exports (11th)

Employment in knowledge-intensive services (14th)

Intellectual property payments (14th)

Pupil/teacher ratio in secondary education (16th)

Tertiary enrolment (18th)

Utility model applications by origin (7th)

GDP per unit of energy use (114th)

Innovation linkages (112th)

Investment (107th)

Rule of law (104th)

Political stability and absence of violence/terrorism (103rd)

State of cluster development (101st)

Regulatory quality (97th)

Gross capital formation (95th)

ICTs and business model creation (94th)

GERD financed from overseas (76th)

Microfinance institutions' gross loan portfolio (72nd)

Venture capital deals (67th)


Development Prospects   

The authors conclude that over the last three years, Russia has shown variable rankings in both innovation inputs and outputs. Thus, the country demonstrated slight declines in inputs in 2012 and 2014 and in outputs in 2013 and 2015, yet the overall trend has been positive.

Figure 1. Framework of the Global Innovation Index 2016

However, despite high scores in certain areas, Russia, compared to top-ranking countries, has demonstrated poor performance in many other indicators of innovation.

In their chapter for the GII 2016 report, HSE researchers Gokhberg and Roud provide a detailed review of the current situation in Russia's innovation system. In many ways, this situation is quite favorable.

Thus, R&D spending doubled between 2000 and 2014 and has now reached 847.5 billion rubles, bringing Russia into the top 10 countries in terms of total R&D spending. Since 2010, innovation has been high on the Russian government's agenda, leading to the adoption of more than 50 policy documents concerning research, technology and innovation.

Yet at the same time, the authors note certain constraints to innovation, such as a lack of involvement in cutting-edge reasearch. In 2015, Russian publications were found in just 3.28% of more than 10,000 global research fronts (groups of highly cited papers), based on data from the Web of Science database, compared to the U.S. (74.3% of all research fronts), Germany  (30.7%), and China  (23.4%).

According to Glokhberg and Roud, while Russia may enjoy comparative advantages in its traditionally prioritised areas of knowledge such as physics, aerospace technology, earth sciences, mathematics, chemistry and materials science, some other areas related to the new industrial revolution and life sciences remain underdeveloped.

The HSE researchers also note that engaging in innovation is not a priority business strategy for nearly 90%  of Russian companies, which may limit their experience of innovative collaboration.

The authors emphasise, however, that innovation cannot be imposed on companies from the top down and requires more than just funding; also needed are the essential enabling conditions for innovation, its marketing and promotion, broader strategic planning horizons, and engagement with global innovation networks.

* The HSE researchers have contributed to the preparation of reports accompanying the GII releases in 2014 and 2012 and have been producing Russia's Regional Innovative Development Ranking (the most recent release was in June 2016 ), based on international practice.

August 16, 2016