Why is it Significant?
R&D performed in Massachusetts is an indicator of the size and health of the science and technology enterprise. Although not all new ideas or products emerge from defined R&D efforts, these data provide a basis for estimating a region’s general capacity for knowledge creation. The distribution of R&D expenditures by type of performer illustrates the relationship that states have with the different types of R&D performers and how a differentiated list of performers can help produce an innovative and diverse ecosystem.
In contrast to R&D expenditures, which are inputs to research, academic article publication is a measure of research output and can be viewed as a leading indicator of patents and business development. In addition, the ratio of articles produced per dollar spent on research and articles produced per researcher measures the productivity of research activity.
Patents are the leading form of legal codification and ownership of innovative thinking and its application. A patent award is particularly important for R&D-protecting products resulting from investments in R&D. High levels of patenting activity indicate an active R&D enterprise combined with the capacity to codify and translate research into ideas with commercial potential. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) patents represent one-fifth of global patents. Utility Patents are those for unique and novel inventions that have some practical purpose, as opposed to purely aesthetic Design Patents.
The amount of patenting per capita by technology category indicates those fields in which Massachusetts’ inventors are most active. The results suggest comparative strengths in knowledge creation, which is a vital source of innovation and business creation. The patent categories in this comparison are selected and grouped on the basis of their connection to key industries of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy.