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ASTF Releases First S&T Innovation Index

December 01, 2000

"High paying jobs in growth areas are critically needed to offset the decline in wealth and employment from Alaska's North Slope. These new jobs require technical innovation, capital, management, and trained workers."

These two sentences summarize the findings of the first science and technology innovation index prepared by the Alaska Science & Technology Foundation (ASTF). The index provides a snapshot of the state's current position in science, technology and innovation. Using 31 measures distributed across four categories -- population and economic infrastructure, innovation, financial capacity, and infrastructure and human resources -- the 2000 Alaska S&T Innovation Index assessed those areas in which the state is doing well, average, or poorly compared with the national average and selected states. Other profiled states include California, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming.

ASTF found that the number of Alaskans in technology-related jobs grew three times faster than total employment in the state between 1994-1999, yet still represented only 4 percent of the state's total employment. Patents issued to Alaskans are on an upward trend, and Alaska ranked first nationally for households with Internet access and computers. ASTF reported, however, that Alaska ranked 47th in total spending for research and development and, on a per capita basis, spent only 28 percent of the national average for R&D.

ASTF is now engaged in an ongoing discussion with statewide business and policy groups about what both the private and public sectors can do to improve Alaska's economy. The 2000 Alaska Science & Technology Innovation Index can be obtained from ASTF through: http://www.astf.org

Alaska joins several other states, regions and localities that have completed innovation indices or S&T report cards, as they are also known. Twenty past SSTI Weekly Digest articles regarding other indices are archived on our website at: http://www.ssti.org/Digest/Indices/indices.htm