4.1 Research by Sector
Although universities produce the majority of research output, the larger research ecosystem spans government labs, corporations, hospitals, not-for-profit think-tanks, and other institutions. It is important to understand the distribution of a state’s research output across different sectors. When researchers and knowledge workers can easily collaborate with and move across different sectors, all stakeholders benefit from the exchange of ideas and talent.25 In order for states to maximally benefit, there needs to be a critical mass of research occurring across academia, government, and business and a robust triple-helix ecosystem spanning those sectors that enables such cross-fertilization.26
Research suggests that proximity plays a key role in fostering university-industry collaboration and exchange.27 States with low levels of research outside the academic sector—particularly the corporate sector—have to work harder to develop academic-corporate collaborations and other connections that facilitate knowledge transfer. States with high levels of research output outside the academic sector have a head-start, but they still need to make sure the different sectors are connected to one another.
About 8.5 percent of all published U.S. research is conducted by corporate institutions.28 Figure 4.1 shows a heat map of the relative percentage of each state’s total output from the corporate sector.
Figure 4.1— Percentage of Total State Output from Corporate Institutions, 2004–13. Source: Scopus®
From 2004–2013, 20.8 percent of New Jersey’s total output (33,504 publications) was from corporate researchers, the highest among all states in the country and more than twice the rate of the entire country. The states with the next highest relative levels of corporate output were Delaware (13.9 percent), California (13.2 percent) and New York (10.9 percent).
Figure 4.2 presents the fields in which New Jersey corporations produced the highest number of publications. The orange or top bar denotes the relative percentage of New Jersey’s corporate publications in that field. The olive or middle bar denotes the relative percentage of all New Jersey publications, regardless of sector, in that field. The blue or bottom bar denotes the relative percentage of all U.S. corporate publications, not just those from corporations based in New Jersey, in that field. When the orange or top bar is longer than the olive or middle bar, it means that New Jersey’s corporate sector produced a higher relative volume in that field compared to the other sectors (academic, government, other). Likewise, when the orange or top bar is longer than the blue or bottom bar, that means New Jersey’s corporate sector produced a higher relative volume in that field compared to all other corporations in the U.S. The fields in which New Jersey corporations have a strong comparative research advantage are those in which the orange or top bar is much longer than the other two bars.
Figure 4.2— Distribution of New Jersey’s Corporate Sector Output by Field, 2004–13. Source: Scopus®
8,830 publications or 26.4 percent of all of New Jersey’s corporate publications were in the field of medicine, the highest among all fields. More significantly, as Figure 4.2 shows, research in pharmacology, toxicology and pharmaceutics comprised 15.2 percent of New Jersey corporate publications, twice the rate of the state’s total research output (6.0 percent) and that of the U.S. total corporate research output (7.4 percent). There is a high concentration of pharmaceutical companies—and particularly their R&D operations—in New Jersey, and these measures suggest that they play an outsized role in driving New Jersey’s larger research ecosystem, both vis-à-vis its universities and its research corporations in other industries.
For some other states, government labs and agencies constitute a large proportion their total research output and 11.4 percent of all U.S. research output.
As Figure 4.3 shows, more than 50 percent of New Mexico’s total research output originated at government labs—in this case, Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. Likewise, 45.7 percent of Maryland’s total research output, which itself comprises 28.4 percent of all government research output in the U.S., comes from government institutions such as the National Institutes of Health. No other state comes close in terms of the relative skew of research output by the government sector, though Idaho (25.1 percent), West Virginia (17.5 percent) and Virginia (16.7 percent) are also home to government labs with large relative research outputs
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Figure 4.3— Percentage of Total State Output from Government Institutions, 2004–13. Source: Scopus®