India has come up the global innovation index, with overall top ranking in the Central and Southern Asian region and a global ranking of 76 among a list of 146 countries. India is followed by Kazakhstan and Bhutan in the Global Innovation Index 2014 regional ranking.
Switzerland remained at the top spot on the Global Innovation Index, published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization, for the fourth-straight year.
Three European countries - Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Sweden - topped this year's Global Innovation Index (Global Innovation Index 2014), while Sub-Saharan Africa posted significant regional improvement in the annual rankings.
This year's rankings, which focused on the role people play in the innovation process, found that Switzerland and other top-ranked countries Britain, Sweden and Finland, had strong all-round support systems that led to "high levels of creativity".
The GII 2014 report was launched on the sidelines of the Sydney gathering of international business leaders (known as B20) which is part of Australia's preparations to host the annual Group of Twenty (G20) leaders summit on November 15-16, 2014.
''I'm honoured to launch the GII in Sydney today and am very proud to see Australia leading the way in trade and competition," said Australia's minister for industry Ian Macfarlane.
Macfarlane added, "Australia is an investment destination offering a highly-skilled workforce. We understand that efforts to increase prosperity depend on innovation, creativity and a focus on new global markets, as well as a strong intellectual property system – a central part of the growth agenda being discussed by the G20.''
BRICS nations such China, Brazil and India were catching up with the developed countries, the researchers said in a statement.
''Top-scoring middle-income economies are narrowing the gap on innovation quality with China in the lead, followed by Brazil and India.''
"China significantly outperforms the average score of high-income economies across the combined quality indicators," they added.
The Sub-Saharan Africa region also moved up the rankings, with Cote d`Ivoire recording the biggest jump among the 143 economies surveyed.
"Sub-Saharan Africa now has more `innovation learner` economies than any other region, with five African economies joining that status in 2014: Burkina Faso, Gambia, Malawi, Mozambique, and Rwanda," the researchers said.
They also found that growth in research and development funding was slowing as governments reduce public spending, and amid firms` cautious attitudes towards investing in new projects.
Asian countries, particularly China, South Korea and India were expected to buck the trend and boost their support for research and development programmes, the researchers said.
The GII 2014 surveys 143 economies around the world, using 81 indicators – to gauge both their innovation capabilities and measurable results.
This year's study benefits from the experience of its Knowledge Partners: the Confederation of Indian Industry, Dubai telecom operator Du and network infrastructure provider Huawei, as well as of an Advisory Board of 14 international experts.