Report: New York trails in national R&D

Troubling development: New York trails eight other states in corporate R&D expenditures, according to a new report.

A little more than half of all research and development in the country is occurring in five states – none of which is New York.

That according to a new report from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, a division of the National Science Foundation that analyzes and disseminates objective data on U.S. scientific enterprises.

According to the report, five states – California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas and Washington – accounted for better than half of the R&D paid for and performed by U.S. companies in 2013.

Despite heavy state and private investments in Buffalo-based R&D efforts – and the emergence of Long Island as a biotech hub, leveraging world-class science at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Stony Brook University and other Island-based institutions – New York was only ninth on the NCSES list.

The report, based on the national center’s annual Business R&D and Innovation Survey, notes that U.S. companies paid $265 billion for research and development efforts in 2013 – $255 million of which took place in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. That work does not include R&D work performed by U.S. companies but paid for by others, such as the federal government or business partners.

The $133 billion spent in the top five states accounts for roughly 52 percent of the national total. California alone accounted for $77 billion, or 30 percent of nationwide R&D expenditures.

Companies spent about $9 billion in New York, which crept into the top 10 just above Minnesota ($6 billion).

Although Texas ($13 billion) did crack the top five, the report noted that the Lone Star State, along with New York, logged “R&D intensities” substantially below the nation as a whole, reflecting concentrations of non-R&D-intensive industries – financial services in the Empire State, oil and gas extraction across Texas.

The report defines “R&D intensity” as a ratio of research & development to gross domestic product.

The report also suggests that R&D expenditures are inexorably tied to a state’s economic identity, with a single industry dominating business R&D in four of the list’s top 10 states. For Michigan ($14 billion, third on the list), it was automobile manufacturing; for New Jersey ($12 billion, seventh) it was pharmaceutical research.

More information, including business R&D performance levels for all 50 states and a breakdown of the top R&D regions in each state, is available in the full report.