Asymmetric international mobility of highly talented scientists is well documented. We contribute to the explanation of this
phenomenon, looking at the "competitiveness" of research universities in terms of being able to attract talented early stage
researchers. We propose a new hybrid quantitative-qualitative methodology for comparing the top tier of national higher education
systems: We characterise a country's capability to offer attractive entry positions into academic careers building upon the
results of a large scale experiment on the determinants of job choice in academia, using a mix of data and expert-based assessment.
We examine salary level, quality of life, career perspectives, research organisation, balance between teaching and research,
funding and the probability of working with high quality peers. Our results in the form of a job attractiveness index indicate
that overall, the US research universities offer the most attractive jobs for early stage researchers, consistent with the
asymmetric flow of talented scientists to the USA. By comparison with rankings that use survey results or bibliometric data,
our methodology offers the advantage of comparing structures and factors shaping the process of research rather than results
of research. The findings are hence directly relevant for policies aiming at improving the attractiveness of research universities.
In October 2013, the European Commission presented a new indicator intended to capture innovation outputs and outcomes and
thereby "support policy-makers in establishing new or reinforced actions to remove bottlenecks that prevent innovators from
translating ideas into products and services that can be successful on the market". This article aims to evaluate the usefulness
of the new indicator against the background of the difficulties in measuring innovation outputs and outcomes. We develop a
unique conceptual framework for measuring innovation outcomes that distinguishes structural change and structural upgrading
as two key dimensions in both manufacturing and services. We conclude that the new indicator is biased towards a somewhat
narrowly defined "high-tech" understanding of innovation outcomes. We illustrate our framework proposing a broader set of
outcome indicators capturing also structural upgrading. We find that the results for the modified indicator differ substantially
for a number of countries, with potentially wide-ranging consequences for innovation and industrial policies.