Useful Stats: 2020 Higher Ed R&D expenditures increased in most states despite pandemic

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and recession, most states experienced growth in annual Higher Education Research & Development (HERD) expenditures between 2019 and 2020. Given higher education’s role in generating knowledge that catalyzes innovative new technologies developed by high-growth startups, R&D conducted at institutions of higher education is one of the most important metrics for evaluating an area’s innovation economy. This edition of Useful Stats examines data from NSF’s recently updated 2020 HERD survey, specifically examining one- and 10-year changes in HERD spending by state.

Useful Stats: 2019 Business R&D intensity by state

Business research and development (R&D) intensity — private sector R&D expenditures as a percentage of total gross domestic product (GDP) — is an indicator of how interested businesses are in creating new products and processes. This edition of Useful Stats expands upon previous SSTI analyses of business R&D and applies the more standardized measure of “R&D intensity” to provide additional context on the private sector’s activities within states.

Useful Stats: SSTI analysis examines business R&D employment by state, 2019

An SSTI analysis of business R&D employment data from the National Science Foundation’s recently updated 2019 Business Enterprise R&D (BERD) Survey finds that nationally in 2019, R&D employment at private businesses accounted for 8.6 percent of total employment. The states where the business R&D employment shares of total employment were the greatest in 2019 were Washington (20.9 percent); Massachusetts (19.3 percent); California (17.7 percent); New Hampshire (14.7 percent); and Michigan (12.7 percent). The analysis builds on our previous examination of business R&D expenditures and focuses on R&D employment at private businesses and the level of total business R&D expenditures per R&D employee by state in 2019.

Useful Stats: Business R&D expenditures by state and source of funding, 2019

Private sector investment into research and development (R&D) is a critical component of innovation, new product development, and regional economic vitality. As a substantial performer and funder of R&D in the United States, the strength of private industry’s R&D activity in a region can provide an indication of the region’s capacity for developing and bringing innovative technologies to market. Using data from the recent release of the National Science Foundation’s 2019 Business Enterprise R&D (BERD) Survey, this SSTI analysis shows that while private companies nationally paid for the greatest share of total business R&D expenditures themselves in 2019, this was not the case for all states.

Funding basic science research leads to stronger economic growth

Greater investment in basic scientific research, as opposed to applied research, is more likely to drive stronger long-term economic growth, induce a knowledge spillover effect, increase productivity ROI, and encourage more public-private collaboration, according to a group of economists at the International Monetary Fund.

Biden administration releases R&D priorities memo for FY 2023 budget

The Executive Office of the President released its first research and development memo at the end of August for fiscal year 2023. The memo is intended to provide instructions to agencies about the administration's priorities for R&D spending and activities, which should then be reflected in budget requests and agency activities. It highlights the research and development goals of the Biden administration in areas such as pandemic readiness, climate change mitigation, emerging technology, national security, public trust in STEM, and diversity and equity.

Useful Stats: Federal support to colleges and universities for science & engineering by state and type of activity, 2019

Developing local assets and nurturing local talent in science and engineering (S&E) is paramount to productive innovation economies. Institutions of higher education (IHEs) are arguably the most important elements of these local knowledge-capital assets — housing physical R&D infrastructure, training new scientists and engineers, and creating and disseminating new knowledge across the academic, public, and private sectors.

Arkansas’s economic recovery strategy has wider applicability

Whether or not your state embraced strict measures in an attempt to reduce virus spread, the current pandemic has created the need for reflection and revision of how each of us go about our lives. The same opportunity has arisen for the public and private sectors to rethink how they engage in many core functions.

Census Bureau seeks comment on Business Enterprise Research & Development survey

When planning and evaluating programs and policies in local and regional innovation economies, a key measure is the amount of private business research and development (R&D) activity taking place, typically found in the Business Enterprise Research & Development Survey (BERD). The Census Bureau, in cooperation with the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), is seeking public comment on planned updates to the BERD survey.

Useful Stats: Performers of federally-funded R&D by state, 2019

Federally funded R&D is a pillar of the U.S. innovation economy, and understanding how that funding is disbursed among the various performers within a state can help regional innovation leaders in developing, designing and implementing investment strategies, programs, and policies.


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