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Turn up the heat to climb the ’card

In physics, intensity measures the power applied to a specific area. We use the term in a similar way, as a measurement of a country’s focus on biotechnology. This category is compiled from a series of relative measurements that normalize the data for population size and overall economy. Thus, our Intensity category enables readers to compare large countries to each other, and it identifies small countries with strong biotechnology activities. In short, Intensity represents a relative measurement of a country’s activity in the industry. Rather than measuring an output, like a market activity, Intensity measures input. Consequently, countries with high scores in this category could make great places to perform biotech research or to look for partners.

Several of the components of the Intensity metric rely on public biotech firm data that come from company disclosures and published information (Huggett, B. Nat. Biotechnol. 31, 697–703 (2013), and company disclosures). For the “public biotechnology company employees per capita” component, we divided the employee counts by the 2013 mid-year population as sourced from the US Census Bureau International Data Base. For “public biotechnology company revenues per GDP,” we used the 2013 GDP as sourced from the IMF World Economic Outlook Database. The data for “biotech patents per total patents” (filed with the Patent Cooperation Treaty) and “business expenditures on biotechnology R&D” came from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “Value added of knowledge- and technology-intensive industries” was sourced from the NSF Science and Engineering Indicators for 2014.

Last year Denmark, the United States, Australia and Ireland led in this category. The mix at the top remains about the same—Denmark, the United States and Australia leading the way, but Singapore takes Ireland’s place for the fourth spot.

As an indicator of input, Intensity offers a perfect place for a country to push its way higher up the Scorecard. Between now and 2015, any nation could direct incentives to promote biotech job creation or invest more in biotechnology R&D. Besides improving a country’s placement on our metric, such added ‘intensity’ should heat up its biotech capabilities.

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