r&d

SSTI Commentary: Strategic investment needed now

A new report underscores the shifting position of the United States in the global R&D competition and the continuing rise of China. While two charts from the National Science Board’s The State of U.S. Science and Engineering summarize the changing nature of this international struggle, the underlying data on where the U.S. and China are investing their resources should really grab the attention of policymakers and one would hope motivate action by the U.S.

Useful Stats: Higher Ed R&D Performance by Metro and Field

Taking a deeper dive into R&D expenditures at U.S. institutions of higher education, this week’s edition of Useful Stats examines the fields in which this R&D was performed at the metropolitan level in 2018. Expanding on a previous SSTI report showing that R&D activity at universities and colleges is clustered heavily on the coasts, this analysis uses the NSF’s Higher Education R&D (HERD) data on the research expenditures at individual institutions to determine how this funding is distributed among the various fields of study, with life sciences outpacing all other fields.

As shown in the map below, HERD expenditures in the life sciences (primarily the biological, biomedical, and health sciences) accounted for the vast majority of all higher education R&D activity in the U.S. — accounting for 57.8 percent ($45.8 billion) of the total performed in 2018. Engineering R&D was a distant second, accounting for 15.6 of the total.

Proposal would create 10 new innovation hubs across US

Brookings and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) are proposing a new concentration of federal investment into 10 metros with a goal of creating new innovation hubs. The Case for Growth Centers is likely an early entry of what will be many suggestions between now and next November for “massive federal” policies, but may be one of the most directly relevant to regional innovation economies.

Useful Stats: Higher Education R&D Performance by Metro, 2009-2018

This week’s edition of Useful Stats covers Higher Education Research & Development (HERD) expenditures at the metropolitan level, pulling from the recent NSF updates to its HERD performance data. High levels of college and university R&D activity is not surprisingly clustered heavily in the East Coast — ranging from the District of Columbia up to Boston — and on the West Coast in California. The 10-year average HERD expenditures were the greatest in the New York-Northern New Jersey metro area ($3.7 billion), Boston ($2.8 billion), Baltimore ($2.8 billion), Los Angeles ($2.6 billion), and Houston ($2.0 billion). These five metro areas account for nearly 21 percent of the nation’s total 10-year average R&D spending by universities and colleges. Of the 209 metro areas included in this analysis — and excluding nonmetropolitan areas — the top 15 metros account for approximately 45 percent of the 10-year average of total HERD expenditures.

Useful Stats: Higher education R&D expenditures by state and source of funds

Across the U.S., the federal government provided 53 percent of R&D funding at institutions of higher education in FY 2018. Those institutions provided 26 percent of the funding themselves, and most of the remainder was provided by a mix of nonprofit organizations (7 percent), industry (6 percent), and state and local government (5 percent). The specific contributions varied from state to state, however, with some relying more on specific relationships to support R&D within the state.

Useful Stats: Higher Education R&D Expenditures by State, 2009-2018

Expenditures in higher education R&D (HERD) grew in FY 2018, increasing by $4.1 billion over FY 2017, the largest year-over-year increase since FY 2010-2011 according to an SSTI analysis of recently released data from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. For the 10-year period from FY 2009 to FY 2018, HERD grew by 38.4 percent nationally, representing an increase of nearly $22 billion.

To encourage business R&D: grants or tax credits?

The importance of business and industry R&D investment for competitiveness and economic growth is a well-entrenched dictum of national and state innovation policy across most of the developed world. Approaches for incentivizing increased research expenditures fall into two broad categories, direct grants and subsidies to offset R&D costs or R&D tax credits companies may take post-investment for research expenditures.

Three studies probe NIH R&D representation, conflicts of interest

In recent weeks, three separate reviews of R&D grants and awards at NIH have shed new light on issues of minority and women representation among researchers and on potential conflicts of interest by investigators. NIH has been publicly working to address concerns about representation and trustworthiness among its investigators. While the results from these studies show that the agency has more work to do, the availability of this information speaks favorably to NIH's transparent approach to these conversations. 

Useful Stats: Business R&D growing more concentrated in fewer states

Business R&D activity has been historically concentrated in a few states and became even more so in 2017, according to a National Science Foundation issue brief on the latest Business Research & Development and Innovation Survey (BRDIS).

Useful Stats: Performance of total R&D by state (2002-2016)

This month, SSTI research has examined changes in total R&D and total R&D intensity for each state over a 15-year period from 2002 to 2016. In this final installment of the series, this article looks at how the performance of R&D in the states changed over time.

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