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Useful Stats: SBIR/STTR application success rates decreased from 2019 to 2020 at NASA

A helpful metric used by organizations dedicated to supporting technology startups and bolstering local innovation economies is the success rate of companies applying to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Understanding how successful local companies are at submitting quality applications and winning SBIR/STTR awards can better assist in designing outreach, education, technical assistance, mentorship, and other entrepreneurial support programs.

Useful Stats: High-propensity business applications by state, 2006-2020

Recession can drive increases in entrepreneurship as laid off workers look for other opportunities and start their own businesses. Increases in business startup activity throughout the 2020 recession were greater than any time in the 15 years prior. This edition of Useful Stats examines data from the Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics (BFS) series covering business initiation activity as indicated by applications for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Useful Stats: 10-year trends in higher ed spring term enrollment by state, 2012-2021

Understanding enrollment trends at the nation’s institutions of higher education — an important indicator of the knowledge capital and skilled workforce available to local innovation economies — is paramount in developing appropriate strategies to bolster local and regional innovation and entrepreneurship. While many institutional reports cover only one or a few years’ worth of enrollment data, evaluating long-run trends can help policymakers and program designers identify issues that might otherwise be hidden, enabling the development of more effective policies and programs.

Useful Stats: Higher ed spring term enrollment estimates by state, 2019-2021

Enrollment in the nation’s institutions of higher education is an important indicator of the knowledge capital available to local innovation economies. This edition of Useful Stats explores enrollment data from the recently updated National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC) report , Current Term Enrollment Estimates, covering spring term enrollment trends at degree-granting institutions of higher education.

Useful Stats: New utility and plant patents by state, 2016-2020

This edition of Useful Stats explores data from the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) on new utility and plant patents granted in the U.S. by state/territory for the five-year period from 2016 to 2020. This analysis includes only utility and plant patents as these types are those associated with the invention of new products and services, and excludes reissued patents and those issued for purely aesthetic designs.

State patent activity is a good indicator of the health of local innovation economies. Patents for innovative products and processes are issued to inventors across academia, industry, and the public sector, and the number of these new patents issued in states over time can provide insights into the strengths of these sectors and how well they are collectively able to bring innovative technologies out of the lab and, potentially, to market. Understanding this patent activity can help program and policy designers in local innovation economies in evaluating, enhancing, and developing their initiatives.

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.

Useful Stats: Federal R&D obligations by state and agency, 2019

The level of federal R&D funding within a state can have important implications for local innovation economies. As such, understanding the amount of federal R&D funding and which agencies provide that funding within a state can help regional innovation leaders in designing and implementing programs and policies. This edition of Useful Stats explores NSF’s recently updated data on federal R&D funding obligations in 2019 by state and agency.

Useful Stats: SBIR application success rates decreased from FY 2019 to FY 2020 at National Institutes of Health

An SSTI data analysis finds that in FY 2020, small businesses were less successful in obtaining Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — particularly from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — than they were in FY 2019. NIH provides more funding to the SBIR/STTR program in total than the other participating civilian agency combined, and is also the top funder of the program within most states among the civilian agencies. As such — and with the approaching June 4 deadline for applications to the Federal And State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program — organizations dedicated to supporting technology startups and bolstering local innovation economies should consider how to better assist companies prepare and submit quality SBIR/STTR applications to NIH while designing outreach, education, technical assistance, mentorship, and other entrepreneurial support programs.

Useful Stats: Doctorate recipient labor force and R&D activities by field, 2015-2019

The overall employment outlook for the recipients of doctorate degrees earned at U.S. institutions has improved from 2015 to 2019, while the research activities conducted by these highly trained and educated individuals has started to shift away from basic and applied research activities towards activities focused on design and development. Doctorate recipients play an essential role in developing the knowledge base leveraged in creating new technologies and companies in the innovation economy. Understanding the employment trends of this vital group can help in crafting programs and policies to strengthen local innovation economies.

Useful Stats: Higher Ed R&D expenditures and personnel in nonmetropolitan areas, 2019

Although the nation’s nonmetropolitan economies are less reliant on the R&D activity performed by institutions of higher education than the economies of urban areas, researchers in some rural areas show levels of higher education R&D (HERD) expenditures per R&D employee that are on par, or even exceed, their urban counterparts. Policy makers may wish to consider and prioritize the relative “outsized” importance of HERD funding and related research personnel in future policy decisions and public investments that are geared toward select smaller communities and rural places.

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