WIPO Describes PHL as ‘Extraordinary Upward Mover’ Despite Sliding to 59th GII Ranking

“As these global rankings go, we gain some and lose some, but (this year’s 59th place) is a considerably better place to be in than in 2014 when we ranked 100th.”

— DOST-STII Director Richard P. Burgoz

By EDD K. USMAN Twitter: @edd1819Instagram: @bluestar0910Facebook: SDN — Science, Digital and Current Affairs

(SDN) — From 51st rank to 59th place in the 2022 Global Innovation Index (GII), the Philippines still received a description as an “extraordinary upward mover.”

Science Secretary Renato U. Solidum, Jr. (Credit: DOST)

The recognition is from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), noting the country’s 59th place is from the collection of the 132 economies of the world covered in the freshly released GII this year.

Recall that the Philippines secured the 51st rank when the WIPO recognized the country’s “ability to perform above expectations for its level of development,” the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) noted in an email sent to SDN — Science and Digital News.

PH still recognized as an “extraordinary upward mover” as it placed 59th at the GII 2022

Despite sliding down to the 59th place in the annual innovation review, the Philippines, a country of 110 million people, nonetheless gained recognition from the WIPO as an “extraordinary upward mover, with small setback” for its innovation initiatives.

During the pandemic the DOST and its 18 or so attached agencies have been producing technology innovations in succession aimed at helping the national government in combatting the menace of the coronavirus pandemic.

It was under the leadership of the then science secretary, now retired, the engineer Fortunato T. de la Pena, when innovations got off to a hot start, helping Filipinos raised the quality of life, making it easier for every Juan and Juana.

In April 2021, then at the height of the health crisis, the science department through its Innovation Council, the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), unveiled 100 research, development and innovation (RDI) projects covered in the sectors, such as industry, energy, and emerging technologies.

As the country slowly crawls to the ways of the old normal, PCIEERD headed by Executive Director Enrico “Eric” C. Paringit has earlier unveiled plans to support 238 new projects worth a total funding of over Php1.7 billion, 100 of them up for reveal this year.

Perhaps, the WIPO was referring to these PCIEERD-funded innovations — as well as those numerous innovations by DOST’s other attachhed agencies — when it said the Philippines “produced more innovation outputs relative to its level of innovation investments.”

Recall still that the Philippines has one of the lowest investments in research and development (R&D) as measured through its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The DOST statement the SDN — Science and Digital News received said that this year, “the Philippines ranks 5th among the 36 lower-middle-income group economies compared to its 4th place in 2021. The country also ranks 11th among the 17 economies in Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania, which is the same spot in the 2021 rankings. These high marks are present, even if the Philippines’ Innovation Inputs dipped from 72 in 2021 to 76 in 2022 and Innovation Outputs from 40 in 2021 to 51 in 2022.”

The GII is an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for, and success, in innovation. According to the WIPO website, the GII tracks the most recent global innovation trends against the background of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, slowing productivity growth and other evolving challenges. It reveals the most innovative economies in the world, ranking the innovation performance of around 132 economies while highlighting innovation strengths and weaknesses.

De la Pena’s replacement at the DOST, Secretary Renato U. Solidum, Jr., cited the significance of the GII which the WIPO releases every year.

“The Philippines rank in the latest Global Innovation Index is a challenge to both the government and private sector to prioritize innovation. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we at the DOST are fully committed to driving the local industry to succeed through our investments in S&T (science and technology) facilities and laboratory network to support our local industry’s productivity,” said Solidum, formerly science undersecretary for disaster risk reduction and climate change, as well as the former director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (-DOST-Phivolcs)

Ms. Leah J. Buendia, DOST undersecretary, and officer-in-charge at the Office of the Undersecretary for R&D, mentioned the importance of digitalization vis-a-vis achieving efficient operation.

“The Philippines continues to capitalize on its strengths and increasing capacity in industry 4.0 technologies. DOST funded R&D facilities and laboratories with an active nationwide network for the development of industry and programs for digitalization, allows industry for a more streamlined and efficient process.”

Why the Philippines slid eight places down in 2022, the DOST explanation

The science department said this is”largely due to decreased performance score in Knowledge and Technology Outputs which are mainly a function of knowledge creation, knowledge impact, and knowledge diffusion.”

On the other hand, “it must be noted that despite the decrease in performance score in Knowledge and Technology Outputs, the Philippines continues to produce more innovation outputs relative to its level of innovation investments. In fact, despite this lower performance, the Philippines continues to perform above regional average among its neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania.”

Director Richard Pomar Burgoz, head of the Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII), feels optimistic the country would be able to climb in future GII rankings, saying the innovation review comes with many components.

“As these global rankings go, we gain some and lose some, but (this year’s 59th place) is a considerably better place to be in than in 2014 when we ranked 100th,” Burgoz pointed out.

The WIPO unveiled the 2022 GII on its website on September 29, via this link: https://webcast.wipo.int/home (/)

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