The United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization’s Global Innovation Index (GII) has listed Israel among the top ten most innovative countries in their annual ranking, Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced late last week. Israeli Ambassador to India, Dr. Ron Malka, and Israeli Director of Digital Health, Esti Shelly, will represent Israel in New Delhi as the GII reveals the country’s exact ranking on July 24.
The GII examines 129 countries and their overall creative environment through a complex algorithm and 80 different indicators, functioning as a benchmarking tool for policy-makers, business leaders, and other stakeholders to evaluate innovation progress on a yearly basis.
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The index focuses on a different innovation-related topic each year and is in its 12th edition. The selected topic for 2019 was “the future of health innovation,” examining the role and dynamics of technological and non-technological medical innovation and its influence on the future of healthcare and economic growth.
With each edition, Israel gradually climbed the ranks; in 2016, the country was listed in 21st place, in 2017 it reached 17th, and in 2018 it ranked 11th. This year is Israel’s first time on the top ten.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry stated that Israel’s high ranking functions as “another indication of Israel’s commitment to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
Israel’s recognition in the health sector comes amid a NIS 1 billion (roughly $300 million) national plan titled “Digital Health as a Growth Engine,” approved in 2018. The plan aims to promote innovation in health through proactive regulation, assimilation of new technologies, and encouraging entrepreneurship and digitization within the health care system.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement released by his office at the time that Israel was “doing something of historic significance” while “developing the industries of tomorrow… based on a combination of three things: very large databases, artificial intelligence, and connectivity.”
The digital health field, he said, “has a greater potential than cyber. It is gigantic, greater than transportation, which is also a gigantic field.”