useful stats

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. This edition of Useful Stats builds on a previous SSTI analysis of NSF’s recently-updated data on federal R&D funding obligations in 2019, and examines how that funding is distributed within states among industry, universities and colleges, federal agencies, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), other nonprofits, and state and local governments.

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. For instance, innovation-oriented entrepreneurship concentrates around R&D-rich, knowledge centers, and this data indicates that there are non-metropolitan areas that fit that description.

Useful Stats: R&D Personnel at Institutions of Higher Education by Metropolitan Area, 2019

The R&D performed at colleges and universities is an important driver for the innovation economy — generating new knowledge, spurring invention, training STEM talent, and supporting economic development. This edition of SSTI’s Useful Stats analyzes metropolitan-level data for 2019 from the National Science Foundation on higher education R&D (HERD) expenditures and personnel. Nearly 981,000 individuals in higher education across the U.S. were classified as R&D personnel in 2019. As shown by the green shading in the interactive map below, the metropolitan areas with the greatest total number of HERD personnel in 2019 were Baltimore, Maryland* (44,323); New York-Newark-Jersey City (43,103); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California (35,796); Boston-Cambridge-Newton (35,587); and Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington (27,147).

Useful Stats: SBIR awards per 1,000 innovation research establishments by state, 2019

States often estimate their participation in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program by counting the number of awards made, total of award value, or (when available) the success rate of applications in their state. In this edition of SSTI Useful Stats, we attempt to go beyond these measures to estimate states’ untapped potential for capturing future SBIR awards. This creates a baseline proxy for tailoring and assessing a state’s outreach and support activities.

Useful Stats: Higher Ed R&D intensity by metro, 2019

Metropolitan areas in the U.S. with fewer than 370,000 residents are more likely to be more economically reliant on R&D performed by colleges and universities than larger metros, according to new SSTI analysis. Three data points are used to consider how R&D at institutions of higher education is impacting a region’s economy: NSF’s Higher Education R&D (HERD) data on expenditures at individual institutions; metro area Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis; and population estimates from the Census Bureau. The resulting analysis shows that despite larger metro areas producing a greater total amount of HERD, they are typically less reliant on these expenditures directly powering their economies.

Useful Stats: Higher Education R&D expenditures by state and field, 2019

Given higher education’s role in generating the 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 NSF’s recently updated Higher Education R&D (HERD) survey, finding that most states, although not all, experienced growth in HERD expenditures from 2018 to 2019. This analysis also examines 2019 state HERD expenditures by R&D field, finding that life sciences accounted for the lion’s share of HERD spending in every state except Alaska, typically followed by either engineering; the physical sciences; or the geological, atmospheric, and ocean sciences.

SSTI examines state R&D investment as a share of state GDP, 2009-2018

Industry investment in research and development (R&D) indicates, literally, how invested each state’s businesses are in creating new products and processes. To better-understand industry’s commitment to innovation, business R&D can be viewed as a percentage of each state’s private sector gross domestic product (GDP), providing a measure of research intensity. This measure highlights substantial differences in the orientation of states’ businesses toward research, with some states seeing an investment rate of less than 1 percent while others are above 5 percent. The metric further reveals a broad trend that businesses in many states have stagnated their investments in R&D relative to the overall performance of the economy.


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