Following three consecutive finishes ranking ninth in the nation in the State Technology and Science Index (STSI), Connecticut has moved up to number six in 2016, it’s highest finish in more than a decade. The state ranked ninth in 2010, 2012 and 2014 in the analysis produced every other year by the Milken Institute, following a 7th place ranking in 2008 and 10th in 2004. The ranking was the highest for the state in all seven releases of the STSI index.
The STSI benchmarks states on their science and technology capabilities and broader commercialization ecosystems that contribute to company growth, high-value-added job creation, and overall economic growth, the institute’s website explains.
“We view the STSI as a measure of a state’s innovation pipeline. The index isn’t intended to be a measure of immediate economic impact, but rather to demonstrate that the return on science and technology assets will accrue in future years.”
The top five states in 2016 are Massachusetts, Colorado, Maryland, California and Washington. Rounding out the top 10, after Connecticut, are Minnesota, Utah, Virginia and Delaware.
In specific categories, the state’s ranking varied, with considerable improvement in some categories. In the Technology and Science Workforce composite index, Connecticut ranked 10th, an improvement from rankings of 16th in 2014, 13th in 2012 and 14th in 2010. This composite measures the relative presence of high-end technical talent, and consists of 18 eighteen various indicators.
The STSI’s 107 individual indicators are sorted into five composites: Research and Development Inputs, Risk Capital and Entrepreneurial Infrastructure, Human Capital Investment, Technology and Science Workforce, and Technology Concentration and Dynamism. The report indicated that “Connecticut showed major improvement in the Technology Concentration and Dynamism index, going from 21st to 10th. This dramatic rise marks one of the larger overall changes on this index. While modest increases were seen in the Research and Development Inputs index and Human Capital Investment index, these two indices have a much heavier focus on stock measures, and Connecticut’s aerospace and defense sectors help anchor the state’s performance in these areas.”
Connecticut also ranked 10th in the Technology Concentration and Dynamism composite index, the state’s highest ranking in that category, and largest jump from two years ago. In 2014, Connecticut ranked 21st. In the two previous analyses, Connecticut was 12th in 2012 and 18th in 2010.
In the Human Capital Investment composite index, Connecticut ranked third, as it did in 2014 and 2012, after ranking fifth in 2010. In Research & Development, Connecticut placed eighth, its second highest finish, after ranking tenth, seventh and seventh in previous indexes. Connecticut ranked 11th in Risk Capital and Entrepreneurial Infrastructure, up from 14th two years ago, but not as high as sixth place in 2012 and third in 2010.
The Human Capital Investment composite index looks at how much is invested in developing the workforce—the most important intangible asset of a regional or state economy. Twenty-one indicators are included in this composite index. The R&D composite examines a state’s R&D capacity to see if it has the facilities that attract funding and create innovations that could be commercialized and contribute to economic growth, and includes eighteen indicators. The Risk Capital and Entrepreneurial Infrastructure Composite Index determines the success rate of converting research into commercially viable products and services. It includes 12 indicators.
While Connecticut was gaining ground, other states were bottom dwellers. The analysis raised alarms regarding the prospects for those states.
“The states with the weakest innovation assets and ecosystems for starting and growing innovative firms face a bleak future unless changes are made. West Virginia, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Louisiana make up the bottom five in this year’s STSI. They are the least knowledge-intensive and their residents exhibit weak entrepreneurial skills. All of them have undertaken efforts to change their position in technology and science but have had limited success.”
Massachusetts remained in first place with a score of 83.7, retaining the position it has held since the inaugural STSI was released in 2002.
Wyoming, the most improved state, climbed 10 places, to 36th. The state had broad gains but benefited most from the broader definition of occupations in the Technology and Science Workforce category, which included its talent in mining engineering, the analysis pointed out. Missouri rose six spots, to 28th; seen as primarily attributable to a 24-place leap in Risk Capital and Entrepreneurial Infrastructure.