Index points to Shanghai's innovation achievements

Li Qian
Over recent years, Shanghai has notched impressive gains in technological breakthroughs and recognition, yet data suggests gap in funding for basic research.
Li Qian

Shanghai is well on its way to becoming a global innovation hub, as witnessed by its achievements over the past decade.

The city has made a great leap in science and technology breakthroughs, as its annual innovation index reached a record high of 281.9 points in 2018, up 26.8 points and 10.51 percent from 2017.

The index has achieved double-digit growth for seven consecutive years, according to a report released by the Shanghai Institute for Science of Science on Tuesday.

The index uses a weighted formula formed by a series of factors including ability to gather innovation resources, influence of innovation results and appeal to innovation talent.

One key factor contributing to the city’s innovation development, according to the report, is the increase in international recognition of local science and technology achievements. On global influence, Shanghai scored 93 points in 2011, 183 points in 2015 and 345 points in 2018.

Also, Shanghai got 261 points on influencing innovation development in other places, up 60 points from 2017, showing deepened integrated development and more cross-city and cross-province cooperation.

In 2018, Shanghai scientists published 49,142 scientific papers in international platforms. Among them, 39 scientists found their papers were "highly cited," nearly double that of 2017 and about one tenth of the country’s total “highly-cited scientists,” according to the report.

In 2018, Shanghai filed 2,500 PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) applications, a year-on-year increase of 42.05 percent, and the growth rate exceeded the nation’s average by more than four times.

Additionally, Shanghai signed technology contracts worth 130 billion yuan (US$18.9 billion) in 2018, including exporting contracts worth 17.3 billion yuan to the Yangtze River Delta region thanks to deeper integrated development.

By the end of 2018, Shanghai was home to 441 foreign-invested innovation centers. And 45 regional headquarters of multinational companies moved to Shanghai that year, increasing the total number to 670, according to the report.

However, Shanghai still needs to catch up with developed countries in investment for basic research, the report said.

In 2018, Shanghai invested 10.3 billion yuan in basic research, about 7.8 percent of total investment in scientific research. Statistics from 2017 showed the percentages in UK, US and South Korea equalling 18.1 percent, 17 percent and 14.5 percent respectively.

Also, Shanghai could do more to encourage companies to engage in research and development. Of the world's 2,500 top industrial research and development players, Shanghai has only 38 on the list; the highest-ranking of which was SAIC Motor at 104.

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