Global Innovation and the Recession: A New Analysis

Spending on innovation among the richest nations took a nosedive early last year and began a slow recovery in 2009—shown in sharp relief by data in a report issued today by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Published every second year, the OECD Science, Technology, and Industry Scoreboard pulls together international data on the leading economies and looks for patterns across the globe. The 2009 edition highlights a few key trends in the last few years (although many data tables stop in 2006). A look at total U.S. venture capital investment, for example, reveals a decline that began in the first quarter of 2008, even before the credit meltdown, leading to a 60% drop a year later. The line now appears to be on the rise.

One of the hottest innovative sectors before the crash—information and communication technology—seems to be bouncing back. Green technology also continues to grow, as reflected in patent applications. Many elements of the report underline global links in R&D and the growth of cross-border research projects in business.