NORTHERN Europe and East Asia are the global hotspots for idea creation, with the UK behind much of the rest of Europe, research by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers shows.

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PwC’s Global Economy Watch report compares “idea intensity”, which is defined as the number of patents granted per million of population. It concludes the UK, while having improved its ranking from 25th to 19th between 2010 and 2017, is behind Belgium, Norway, Ireland, Switzerland and Finland, among others. South Korea tops the list of the world’s most idea-intensive countries.

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Jonathan Gillham, PwC director of economic modelling and econometrics, said it was “striking” to see the UK lagging many European nations on idea intensity.