Russia has dropped one place in the Global Innovation Index since 2019, placing it between Romania and India.

Since its creation in 2007, the Global Innovation Index (GII) has been co-published by Cornell University (US), INSEAD business school (France), and the World Intellectual Property Organization. The index gives economies the chance to assess their innovative performance, allowing policymakers to develop economic policy strategies, and incentivizing economies to prioritize and collect innovation metrics. 

The GII 2020 is based on seven key pillars: 

  1. Human capital and research

  2. Business sophistication

  3. Knowledge and technology outputs

  4. Market sophistication

  5. Creative outputs

  6. Infrastructure

  7. Institutions

Each of these pillars contains three sub-pillars with a total of 80 individual indicators. The index is also divided into two sub-indexes - the innovation input sub-index and innovation output sub-index.


The GII model includes 131 countries/economies that account for 93.5% of the world’s population and 97.4% of the world’s GDP in purchasing power parity in the current dollar value. The top-three countries in the GII 2020 are Switzerland, Sweden and the United States, closely followed by the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Singapore, Germany, and South Korea. China is the only large developing country to be in the top-20.

According to Kommersant, Russia ranked higher on the innovation input sub-index than the output sub-index (42nd to 58th in 2020 and 41st to 59th in 2019 respectively). 

In the area of human capital and research, Russia dropped from 23rd to 30th place, although that is still its highest rating out of all seven pillars. In terms of higher education coverage, Russia remained at 17th place, but in terms of the number of graduates in natural sciences and engineering fields it dropped from 10th to 15th; in terms of spending on education (3.7% of GDP) the country took 82nd place compared to 86th place in 2019. In terms of spending on R&D (1% of GDP), Russia took 37th place (33rd place in 2019).

The country took 42nd place for business sophistication, dropping from 35th in 2019. The highest places under this pillar were 18th place for the number of persons in high-tech industries and 10th place for the number of women in higher education. In terms of the number of companies with educational programs, Russia took 91st place (previously 27th) and 95th for the development of clusters (previously 89th). The highest places it took in this category were for the number of patents for inventions, moving from 20th place to 17th, and 5th place for utility model (up from 8th); however, in terms of ISO 9001 quality certificates Russia is still only at 105th place (up from 111th). 

For the market sophistication pillar, Russia jumped six places to 55th place; there was also improvement for the credit sub-pillar (60th place, up from 69th). For the venture activities sub-pillar, the country jumped from 77th place to 52nd (although the share is still only 0.1% of GDP), and for the investment sub-pillar Russia moved up two spots but is still only at 104th place.

For the creative outputs pillar, Russia moved up two spots to 60th place, taking into account a diverse number of factors, from the number of Wikipedia corrections to the number of films released and the strength of national brands.

For the infrastructure pillar, Russia jumped from 72nd place to 60th, representing a significant improvement in a short space of time due to an increase in capital investment in relation to GDP. Indicators for information and communications technology infrastructure are strong, but in terms of environmental sustainability Russia is only at 100th place (up from 101st), with energy consumption to GDP alone at 115th place (down from 113th).

Russia is still behind for the institution pillar (71st place, up from 74th), taking 76th place for political stability (up from 91st), 105th place for the quality of regulation (down from 103rd), and 114th place for the rule of law (down from 111th). The only relatively high indicator under this pillar is the “opening a new business” indicator (38th place).

The research partner from the Russian side is the Higher School of Economics (HSE). Leonid Gokhberg, the first vice-rector and director of the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge at HSE and member of the International Advisory Board of the Global Innovation Index, stated to 

“Russia is behind many countries in terms of innovative development. In 2013-2016, Russia managed to greatly improve its position in the ranking, moving from 62nd to 43rd place. That period coincided with the implementation of active state innovation policy. In recent years there has been a trend towards a stagnation in innovation activities, which is reflected by the lack of any significant changes in our country’s indicators in GII-2020. According to the authors of the ranking, the innovation results in Russia are lower than expected given the current GDP per capita indicators and investment in science, technology and innovation. Lagging behind leading countries is generally attributed to the low efficacy of the institutes that create the conditions for entrepreneurial and creative activities. Under the conditions of the crisis brought about by Covid-19 and the expected fall in funding sources, further state support for research and development (especially in the small business and startup sector) should become a priority for leading countries.”