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About the Fact of the Week

Each week, ITIF publishes a fact about innovation in our newsletter. Here you will find an archive of previously featured facts.

10 Most Popular Facts

China awarded 300,000 bachelor's degrees in the natural sciences and 700,000 in engineering-together representing 43% of its 2.3 million total in 2008. China's engineering degrees were about 10 times the U.S. number and represented a much higher share of all bachelor's degrees (30%) than in the United States (5%). The gap in education in STEM fields from U.S. to China is only growing...
A 2013 McKinsey Global Institute report estimated that open data could add over $3 trillion in total value annually to the education, transportation, consumer products, electricity, oil and gas, health care and consumer finance sectors worldwide. Open data can be used to drive innovation within and beyond the organization that created it because it allows other organizations to make use of...
Sweden, Denmark and Finland finished first, third and fourth respectively in the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2013, a ranking of innovation performance of EU member nations. Over the last decade the Nordic nations have made great strides in improving innovation capacity and economic competitiveness. They have accomplished these goals through well-organized national innovation systems that...
From 2000 to 2011, China increased its global solar PV export market share from 2 percent to 54 percent. This remarkable export growth, in addition to significant deployment subsidies in the United States, has helped solar PV costs decrease 75 percent in the last 10 years. But what’s the character of that cost decline?  According to a recent McKinsey study a...
A series of McKinsey Global Institute reports find that a lack of innovation and productivity growth in four critical sectors--education, health care, government, and national infrastructure--are holding back broader economic growth. McKinsey's 2009 report, The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America's Schools, finds that the educational achievement gap between the United States and its...
If federal R&D investment had been sustained at the 1960-1980 level, in terms of an average share of GDP, these investments would be approaching $230 billion annually today, rather than the current levels of roughly $150 billion. Our robust investment in R&D in the 1960s, 70s and 80s fueled our post-war prosperity and helped set the stage for the IT revolution, advances in biotech and...
Germany has adopted an overall innovation stratergy in recent years which explains why Germany has weathered the Great Recession better than the United States. Germany decided to bring government and private companies together to proactively restructure its manufacturing base instead of waiting for market forces to magically arrest the decline. The German companies that are succeeding in the...
High levels of industry funding for university researchers is indicative of successful applications and commercialization of academic research. In the United States, academics performing applied research often face a disconnect between the knowledge they are creating and its end use. Encouraging more public/private partnerships between universities and industry can increase knowledge flows...
Much of the nation has been slow to adopt educational standards that include computer science courses as core math and science graduation credits. In addition, most state programs focus on computer "skills" as opposed to more intricate computing "concepts" that develop critical thinking and problem solving ability. 
America's roadways experience 5.5 million traffic accidents per year. The toll they take is immense: approximately 35,000 fatalities annually (almost 100 per day) and close to $1 trillion in economic losses. The $277 billion in direct costs alone are equivalent to approximately $897 for eachperson living in the United States, or 1.9 percent of U.S. GDP. With human error the "definite or probable...