SHEFFIELD, United Kingdom – Grand Rapids and Detroit were ranked in the top 15 in the 2005 edition of World Knowledge Competitiveness Index released Tuesday. WKCI is the a relative measure of the knowledge economies of the world’s leading regions.
Grand Rapids ranked sixth in the latest survey and Detroit 15th, down from third and twelfth, respectively from the 2004 Index. No other Michigan metropolitan area was ranked in the survey.
Other Midwest cities ranked in the Index include: Minneapolis (13), Chicago (28), Columbus (30), Indianapolis (32), Cincinnati (36), and Cleveland (39).
San Jose ranked first, followed by Boston, San Francisco, Hartford and Seattle and then Grand Rapids.
The Index is a benchmark of the knowledge capacity, capability and sustainability of 125 regions across the globe, and the extent to which this knowledge is translated into economic value, and transferred into the wealth of the citizens of these regions. The Index uses 19 knowledge economy benchmarks, including employment levels in the knowledge economy, patent registrations, R&D investment by the private and public sector, education expenditure, information and communication technology infrastructure, and access to private equity.
The majority of US regions have seen their performance either remain static or fall from a year ago. Rochester, ranked as high as fourth in 2003, slipped again this year, and now ranks ninth. Austin slipped further still: it began in second place back in 2003, but fell another ten places this year to 19th. All six ranked Canadian regions declined from 2004.
The region that has shown the best growth in creating a thriving knowledge-intensive economy was Shanghai, which more than doubled its performance from 2004, and is now ranked second only to Tokyo in terms of patent registrations per capita. Also, Mumbai and Bangalore in India improved, although both remain towards the bottom of the index.
Amongst the list of indicators, the WKCI also benchmarks the availability of private equity, including venture capital and start-up investments. US regions provide the highest levels of private equity to their firms and occupy the top six spots in the 2005 rankings. San Jose and San Francisco share the top spot ($1,325 per capita), with both regions benefiting from the huge amount of venture capital available in and around Silicon Valley. The New England regions of Boston and Hartford ($588 per capita) follow in third place, both of which score over six and a half times the index average.
According to the report, Asia-Pacific is particularly strong in IT and Computer Manufacturing activities, while North America’s strength comes from its spending on R&D and education, as well as its high level of patents. More access to private equity is also a North American advantage. Europe’s model appears to be an under-performing version of that operating within the North American regions, although it does have strength in high technology sectors such as instrumentation and electrical machinery.
“It is clear that at a regional level there are significant variations in the economic development models at work across the globe,” said Co-author Hiro Izushi of Aston Business School. “The US regional development framework is far more reliant upon its investments in knowledge sustainability, in the form of educational expenditure and ICT infrastructure. Asian-Pacific regions tend to place a greater emphasis on mobilising human capital already within the workforce and investment in business-based innovation. While Europe’s leading regions often possess strength relating to the high-technology service sectors and niche high value added manufacturing.”