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Useful Stats: State government investments in R&D, 2012-2017

January 10, 2019

Every state government invested at least $1.0 million in research and development in FY 2017, according to recent data from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Education Statistics. During the three-year period from FY 2015 to FY 2017, California ($551.8 million per year), New York ($403.2 million per year), and Texas ($244.9 million per year) state governments averaged the most R&D expenditures. In FY 2017, these three states accounted for 49.8 percent of the national total, up from 45.6 percent of the total invested by state governments in 2012.

As NSF notes, “state R&D totals can display considerable volatility between survey years due to several national and state-specific factors. Large changes are not unusual, especially for discretionary spending items such as R&D.” To address this volatility, this analysis looks at changes between two three-year periods: from FY 2012 to FY 2014, and from FY 2015 to FY 2017.

The interactive map below highlights this data. Bubble-size represents the average dollar amount of state R&D expenditures during the FY 2015 to FY 2017 period, while shading represents the percent change between the FY 2012 to FY 2014 and FY 2015 to FY 2017 periods.

 

 

 

During the most recent three-year period from FY 2015 to FY 2017, the state governments averaging the most research and development expenditures were California ($551.8 million per year), New York ($403.2 million per year), and Texas ($244.9 million per year). Vermont ($1.5 million per year), New Hampshire ($1.7 million per year), and Mississippi ($2.5 million per year) state governments expended the least amount on R&D, on average, during those years.

Compared to the three-year period from FY 2012 to FY 2014, several state governments experienced very large increases in R&D funding through the FY 2015 to FY 2017 period. Three states in particular stand out:

  • Between FY 2015 and FY 2017, Nevada averaged $6.6 million in R&D per year, a 317 percent increase over the $2.1 million the state averaged between FY 2012 and FY 2014. One potential explanation of this growth is the proliferation of the Knowledge Fund at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, which invests in R&D at the state’s public universities.
  • Massachusetts averaged $25.9 million in R&D between FY 2015 to FY 2017, a 290 percent increase from the $8.9 million that the state averaged between FY 2012 and FY 2014. Massachusetts’ growth could possibly be attributed to targeted investments such as the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.
  • The $15.6 million in R&D that Maine averaged between FY 2015 and FY 2017 was a 232 percent increase over the $6.7 million that the state averaged from FY 2012 to FY 2014. Much of Maine’s growth is due to the administration of bond proposals approved by voters in November 2014: the Human Health Research Fund and the Biomedical Research Fund, and the Marine Jobs Economy Bond.

The searchable table below shows each state’s R&D investment during the 2012-2014 and 2015-2017 periods. Furthermore, because overall increases in state funding for R&D are largely driven by the health and life sciences sector (see companion article), the share of each state’s spending during the 2015-2017 period that comes from health and life sciences is also included. Additional data is downloadable here.

 

 

 

useful stats