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TEDCO Study Challenges Maryland to Maximize R&D Assets

June 27, 2003

The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) has issued a new study showing Maryland continues to underperform in some key areas of innovation while leading competitor states in other areas.

The Maryland Innovation and Technology Index 2003 is a detailed assessment of the state's technology assets and the degree to which they are reflected in economic performance. Building on its earlier editions in 1999 and 2001, the Index considers Maryland's competitiveness in three broad categories of innovation:

  • Resources – the human, intellectual, financial and physical capital that provides the infrastructure for innovation;
  • Dynamics – processes that add management, talent, financing and know-how to transform discovery into products and services with commercial potential; and,
  • Performance – the economic impact of the successful introduction of scientifically-based innovations into the marketplace.

The 2003 Index improves upon its earlier versions, measuring Maryland's performance in 50 statistical indicators — four more than the 2001 edition and 12 more than the 1999 Index. The new Index ranks Maryland against five competitor states, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Maryland leads its competitors in several areas of research and development (R&D) resources, according to the new Index. Federal labs, universities and companies in the state received $8.7 billion in federal R&D obligations in 2000. This includes 34.7 percent of all Department of Commerce R&D funding, 21.1 percent of all Department of Health and Human Health Services R&D funding, and 18.5 percent of all NASA R&D funding. University invention disclosures, new patent filings and university license revenue also have increased, the study finds, and Maryland ranks first in two performance areas, fast-growing young firms and new companies per 1,000 workers.

However, Maryland has failed to improve in three areas of R&D resources in which it was ranked sixth in 2001 — industry-performed R&D, percent of state's total R&D funded by the federal government, and the number of science and engineering graduate students.

"Compared to its competitors, Maryland excels in technology resources (and) is improving in the intermediate steps needed to make technologies economically viable, but is at best halfway home with a long way to go in technology-based economic performance," Marsha Schachtel, principal author of the study, stated in the Foreword. Schachtel is a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies.

Phillip Singerman, executive director of TEDCO, said in a press statement, "As the author of the study notes, even when Maryland's performance is improving, it is not enough to surpass our competitors and increase our rankings because our competitors, even with their own severely constrained budgets, are sustaining their investments in technology-based economic development. Pennsylvania, for example, regularly invests $26 million from general funds in its Ben Franklin Partnership program."

TEDCO's study recommends greater investment by federal laboratories and universities in technology transfer offices, enlightened intellectual property negotiations, access to pre-seed funding from angels and state programs, help in competing for federal SBIR awards, and intensive incubation services. The Index also is expected to help the Maryland Commission on Development of Advanced Technology Business develop a strategic plan for the state.

Soon to be added to Maryland's tech resources are two new university-affiliated research centers in Baltimore and College Park. On June 18, the Maryland Legislative Policy Committee approved $9 million for the centers, including $4 million for a health sciences research park at the University of Maryland-Baltimore and $5 million to help pay for a technology research center at UM-College Park. The funding comes from the state's Sunny Day fund, which promotes job growth and expansion.

The Maryland Innovation and Technology Index 2003 is available at http://www.MarylandTEDCO.org/.