Hong Kong occupies the 7th spot in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2013, up from the 8th last year. The GII is published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The GII 2013 is aimed to study 142 economies around the world, using 84 indicators including the quality of top universities, availability of microfinance, venture capital deals to gauge innovation capabilities and measurable results, said GII.

While Switzerland retained its place atop the rankings, the US rejoined the five most-innovative nations and the United Kingdom moved up to the third spot, which was occupied last year by Singapore now ranked the 8th this year.

Despite the economic crisis, R&D spending levels are surpassing 2008 levels in most countries and successful local hubs are thriving, according to the GII.

A group of dynamic middle- and low-income countries -- including China, Costa Rica, India, and Senegal -- are outpacing their peers, though they haven't broken into the top of the GII 2013 leader board, the GII added.