July | August 2017






New CSG-Elsevier Knowledge Economy Report Debuted in Albany

By Jennifer Burnett, CSG Program Manager for Fiscal and Economic Development Policy
As the United States' economy gains momentum, everyone—from legislators and regional planners to corporations and everyday workers—is focused on answering a few key questions. How can the U.S. sustain that momentum? Where should states and institutions place their bets and invest their resources to create long-term pathways to prosperity?
Brad Fenwick, senior vice president for global strategic alliances at Elsevier, thinks that a focus on higher education research and the knowledge economy is a good bet. Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions.
“It’s really very simple,” said Fenwick. “Scientific research = discovery = innovation = jobs = economic and social well-being. The output of higher education research institutions is an integral part of a state’s economic picture. Those states and municipalities that have invested in developing a knowledge economy have seen a return on their investment over the years, even during economic slowdowns.”
David Adkins, executive director/CEO of The Council of State Governments, agreed.
“American competitiveness in the global marketplace starts with strong state economies,” Adkins said. “Our research capacity is world-class and, as such, is a vital asset to leverage.”
To help policymakers take a closer look at the research specialties of their states, The Council of State Governments partnered with Elsevier to offer a new report—“America's Knowledge Economy: A State-by-State Review”—designed to spur and inform discussions about higher education research funding and prioritization, and how the policy goals of states align with the goals and expertise of its research institutions.
Analysis throughout this report pulls from a variety of measures and data sources, but in particular it relies heavily on analysis of Elsevier’s proprietary abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed research literature that includes 56 million documents published in more than 22,000 journals, book series and conference proceedings by some 5,000 publishers.
“This new report provides a wealth of information that can guide policymakers, higher education administrators and faculty, and business leaders as they consider strategies for building stronger alliances,” said Tom Rudin, director of the Board on Higher Education and Workforce at the National Academies of Science. “It can also catalyze important business-university partnerships that can build on existing strengths and expand both economic growth and educational quality.”
The CSG-Elsevier report was released last week in Albany during a luncheon at the capitol with state legislators, economic development and higher education officials. CSG’s 2015 chair, New York Sen. Carl Marcellino, led the meeting and offered both national and New York-specific highlights from the report.
“We know from this report that New York has a distinct research advantage in computer science, which has likely contributed to our rising tech scene,” said Marcellino. “We also know that New York researchers produced 11.5 percent of all U.S. research publications, second only to California, and that research is highly cited—77 percent more than the global average.
“That’s a testament to our state’s vibrant research community that includes our cutting-edge research colleges and universities, as well as the research being released by government institutions and private industry.”
While economic development officials know the importance of a strong research base to a state’s economic and workforce development growth prospects, identifying empirically where a state has a comparative advantage in a particular research field can be difficult.
“This report provides hard data that state and local municipalities can use to demonstrate the return on investment of academic research, as well as to attract potential sources of new economic development opportunities,” said Adkins.
The information found in the new CSG-Elsevier report also can help guide policymakers as they work to identify more cost effective and efficient ways to leverage their states' research educational resources.
“It’s not just about investing more money, but rather investing in programs that are most effective in bringing economic and other benefits to the citizens of the state,” said Rudin. “This report emphasizes that states can make smart, informed investments in higher education and research—especially in areas where a state’s research universities have already given it a competitive advantage—and by doing so can see an even greater return on investment in the resources they provide to support R&D, education and training.”
The report and highlights from each of the 50 states is available for download at www.csg.org/KnowledgeEconomy.
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