Friday, May 23, 2014

The 71 million dollar question

So here is something to think about for sure. The SSTI has released data on the expenditures by state governments on Research and Development (R&D).

Pennsylvania for sure has one of the higher absolute levels of spending on R&D among states: $71 million in 2011.  But it also has had one of the largest declines in R&D spending over the previous 5 years of data they have compiled., the comparable number was over $117 million in 2007. Only Michigan had a larger absolute decrease in its support for R&D. 

So good or bad?  For Pennsylvania, still high, but dropping?  And how high is high?  $71 million is on par with the salary of just one professional sports team (with one notable exception we can all think of...).  I believe every NFL team spends $100 million on salaries alone, some may double that $71 million statewide number.  The thing about whether Pennsylvania's spending is high or low has to he considered in context to the story we like to tell. Pennsylvania once came up with things like the Ben Franklin initiatives to jump start Technology Based Economic Development (TBED)* at the state level across the nation... and all of that.  Did we back that story, or do we continue to back that story, with concomitant funding levels to make it meaningful? 

Source: SSTI

A subject I do have a forthcoming book chapter on, for those who are interested.


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