State Rankings


The fourth category - innovation - of our state rankings shows a good deal of consistency in what is usually a very volatile category. The top-five states remained the same, though their order shifted a bit. And seven out of the top-10 were there last year. But three new states, Ohio, Virginia and New Jersey, jumped into the top-10.

The map below and the charts on the facing page comprise the fourth installment of our ongoing series that ranks the U.S. states for their micro- and nanotechnology development.

Sources: Small Times uses patent data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark office and SBIR and STTR data from the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, as well as other proprietary data sources.
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The category presented here - innovation - is one of five categories used to generate a state’s overall score. In the previous three issues, analyses of venture capital investment, micro and nanotech density, and research were presented. A compilation of the current series of individual categories is scheduled for the July/August 2007 issue of Small Times magazine.

1. California

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that California tops the innovation list, repeating its number-one slot from our last rankings. It topped both the patent performance and grant performance measures, largely on the size of California’s piece of the national pie. The weak links for the Golden State are the comparisons of micro-nano activity in the state to overall activity. Patents and grants were no exceptions. For example, in the sub-measure that looked at micro-nano grant density by comparing the number of micro-nano grants in a state to the overall number of grants awarded to that state, California was seventh - a function of the state’s large and diverse economy.

2. New Mexico

If California is mildly penalized for the size of its overall economy, New Mexico benefits from it. The state moved up from the third slot in innovation the last time around to second this year, besting Massachusetts by a mere 1.5 points. The state was buoyed by an extremely strong patent performance, partly the result of its federal labs. But it was no slouch on the grant side either, coming in sixth in the measure - likely the result of an increasingly active small tech business community.

3. Massachusetts

The Bay State would have been an easy number two if not for New Mexico’s patent score. It was a solid third in both the patent and grant measures, with an extremely strong showing on the grant side. Like California, Massachusetts also has a large and diverse economy but so much of it is technology-based that its density scores don’t take as much of a beating as California’s do.

4. Michigan

Michigan moved up a notch in this year’s innovation category by climbing above Texas. The two states have competed neck-and-neck for many years and actually tied for fifth in the overall rankings in 2005. Michigan was just off the top-10 list in the patent measure, but scored a stellar second behind California in small tech grant performance, giving it the nod for number four.

5. Texas

A perennial placer, Texas held off a strong-charging New York to stay in the top-five. It fared reasonably well in the patent measure, netting a ninth-place slot, but performed considerably better in the grant performance measure with a fourth-place showing.

6. New York

Like California and Massachusetts, New York takes a bit of a hit because of its overall size. No matter how big micro and nanotech gets in the state, it’s still just a small part of the pie. Nevertheless, New York placed a solid sixth in the innovation category, up two slots from an eighth-place innovation showing last year. Patenting was its stronger suit, as the Empire State notched a fourth-place score in the measure.

7. Ohio

While it wouldn’t be right to call it a surprise given the state’s strong industrial and economic base, Ohio came from off the chart to make a top-10 performance in this year’s rankings. Its 10th-place patent score helped, but it really got a boost from its grant performance, where the state bested all but four others.

8. Virginia

Virginia also hauled itself onto the top-10 list from a non-showing last year. Military-related contracts certainly help, as the state was seventh in grant performance. The irony, of course, is that the nature of the industry means a lot of what takes place doesn’t show up in the public records of either patents or grants.

9. Colorado

Colorado fell a few slots from last year’s ranking, moving from sixth to ninth in what can be a very volatile category. There’s a good chance the state will move up again with the recently launched Colorado Nanotechnology Alliance.

10. New Jersey

Like Colorado, New Jersey crept onto the top-10 list on the basis of a combined strong score even though it didn’t make the top-10 in either individual measure. Kudos to the Garden State: Last year it didn’t make the list.
- David Forman

Two micro- and nano-specific measures are used to generate the innovation scores reflected in the map. Individual scores for the top-10 in each measure are reflected in the charts below.

The two measures each include various sub-measures designed to balance out a state’s strengths relative to its size and relative to the amount of micro- and nanotech activity taking place on a national level. Additional details are available under each chart.

The final scores on the map are calculated by taking the average of the two scores shown here, then normalizing the result on a 100-point scale.

This score is calculated from three sub-measures that quantify which states had the most micro or nano inventors (inventor data), which states were nabbing the most inventions (assignee in state, inventor out of state) from others, and which states were inventing and keeping it in the state at the same time. To generate the final patent score, the sub-measures were normalized on a 100-point scale and then their average was taken and again normalized on a 100-point scale.
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This score is calculated from two sub-measures that quantify which states had the most micro or nano grants relative to the overall micro-nano federal grants and which states had the most micro-nano grants relative to each state’s overall grants of any type. The results were normalized on a 100-point scale. Then they were averaged and weighted (by the percent of total grants) and the result was normalized on a 100-point scale.
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