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Assessment overview

How the Scorecard computes the results in each category

On May 3, 1883, Lord Kelvin, a 19th-century British scientist best known for precisely measuring absolute zero, discussed the subject of measurement at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London. He declared:

"I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be."

So here we seek a science of innovation in biotechnology, and we do “express it in numbers.”

To accomplish this, we rank each country’s performance in seven categories: Productivity, Intellectual Property Protection, Intensity, Enterprise Support, Education/Workforce, Foundations, and Policy and Stability. The category scores arise from a series of components (explained below), and the mean score from the associated components produces the category score in each case. We normalize the results on a scale from 0 to 10. The lowest-ranked country we scored as 0 and the highest-ranked country as 10.

The 54 nations on the Scorecard represent a wide range of sizes—in both area and population. To ensure that important contributions from smaller countries are not ignored solely because of their size, many of the components include relative features, such as using “public company employees per capita” rather than just the gross number of employees. In some cases, though, the Scorecard relies on the gross measurement, such as the available venture capital, where the absolute amount—in our opinion—is the more important measure of a country’s ability to innovate in biotechnology.

As we will explain later, each category gets equal weight in the overall score.

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