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Skills for Innovation and Research

image of Skills for Innovation and Research

Innovation holds the key to ongoing improvements in living standards, as well as to solving pressing social challenges. Skilled people play a crucial role in innovation through the new knowledge they generate, how they adopt and develop existing ideas, and through their ability to learn new competencies and adapt to a changing environment.

This book seeks to increase understanding of the links between skills and innovation. It explores the wide range of skills required, ranging from technical to "soft", and the ability to learn; it presents data and evidence on countries' stocks and flows of skills and the links between skill inputs and innovation outputs. Given the importance of meeting the demands of knowledge-based economic activity, the book investigates the issues of skill supply, education, workplace training and work organisation. It highlights the importance of enabling individuals to acquire appropriate skills and of optimising these at work.

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What the data and evidence say about skills and innovation

Identifying skills for innovation and their contribution to innovation performance is a challenge. The data suggest that educational attainment has improved and that skilled people, as measured by their occupation, have increased, although with important differences across industries. Relationships between skill and innovation indicators are complex and more work is needed, particularly on the basis of firm-level data, to understand the use of different skill groups in innovation activity. This chapter complements the discussion in the previous chapter by examining data and evidence on countries’ stocks and flows of skills, as measured by various indicators of human capital, and on the links between skills and innovation.

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