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    Top 25 Global Innovators:    

Close your eyes for moment and think about what life must have been like 100 or 150 years ago. Try to imagine an era without computers, mobile phones and televisions. Before the first and second world wars. Before the Great Depression. Imagine the awe of seeing an automobile for the first time. And the greater delight of actually being able to ride in one.

The last century-plus has been a period of intense innovation, development and expansion. It’s not to say that our ancestors from even longer ago weren’t innovative, but the magnitude of innovation before the Industrial Revolution was on a completely different scale. From cars and telephones to computers, space stations and 3D-printed organs, we’re living in an era of unprecedented and immense creativity and change.

US President Barack Obama acknowledged this in his 2016 State of the Union address when he said, “We made change work for us, always extending America’s promise outward, to the next frontier, to more people. And because we did -- because we saw opportunity where others saw only peril -- we emerged stronger and better than before.”

Innovation today happens much more broadly and quickly than ever before. And it’s done by a wide array of people and organizations. Change Descartes’s “I think therefore I am” to “I think therefore I innovate.” There are no limits to innovation but those of human ignorance, bias or fear.

Why innovate?

Following on the heels of the World’s Most Innovative Universities, Reuters News and Thomson Reuters IP & Science teamed up to identify the top 25 global government innovators. These organizations lead national, public-sector initiatives across defense, energy, health and science, exceeding the benchmarks set out in the methodology related to scholarly research, citations and the protection of inventions with IP rights, to name a few.

The reason why is clear. Innovation leads to economic growth and prosperity. This is evidenced by the performance of the organizations comprising the Thomson Reuters Top 100 Global Innovators, which have consistently outperformed the S&P 500 or MSCI World Index in year-over-year revenue, R&D spend and performance since the program’s 2011 inception. The message here is simple: Countries that innovate, and protect their inventions with intellectual property rights, can compete more effectively in the global arena and attract new business, talent and opportunity.

Leading the government innovation pack

Knowing the strategic role innovation plays related to future success, Thomson Reuters analysts set out to identify the world’s leading government-affiliated innovators, to determine which countries and agencies truly are adhering to the calls to innovate from their leaders. Table 1 shows the top 10 of the world’s top 25 government innovators. Download the report to see the full listing of the top 25







Fraunhofer Gesellschaft



Japan Science & Technology Agency (JST)



Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)



Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)



Korea Institute of Science & Technology

South Korea


National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology (AIST)



United States Department of Energy (DOE)



Agency for Science Technology & Research (ASTAR)



Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (Inserm)



Table 1: The Top 10 Global Innovators - Government 
(SOURCE: Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index, InCites and Web of Science)

Regional Breakouts

The Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives, also known as the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), is the overall world leader in government-related innovation. The CEA is a public body developed to lead technological research in Europe and to ensure a safe future related to nuclear power1.

While the United States has 24 percent (or six) of the world’s most innovative government organizations in the Top 25, France is the leader in the Top 10, with 30 percent (three) of the top ten slots. Japan and the US each have 20 percent (two such organizations) in the Top 10.

Private/Public Sector Partnerships

In today’s era of open innovation and collaboration, the time is right for government-based innovators to collaborate with the private sector to bring new solutions to life. The expertise of the respective teams can contribute to like-minded initiatives, expediting time to market while maximizing efficiencies and resources.

It’s imperative that all nations understand their innovation footprint and benchmark against each other. This will help raise developing and emerging countries above their current state while also providing a potential-partner-list for the future.

To Learn More

More information on innovation from Thomson Reuters and Reuters News is available at http://reuters.com/innovation and http://stateofinnovation.thomsonreuters.com.


To create the ranking of the world’s Top 25 Global Innovators - Government, Reuters News relied on data compiled by Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property & Science via several of its research platforms: InCites, Web of Science, Derwent Innovations Index, Derwent World Patents Index and Patents Citation Index.

For purposes of this project, the term “government” refers to an agency or instrument of government with a reporting line or affiliation with a government department that is primarily taxpayer funded.

Download the report of the Top 25 Global Innovators – Government.