State is 4th in tech prowess

Mass. heads index

Md. officials pleased with improved score

State nears tie for 2nd place

April 07, 2004|By Jamie Smith Hopkins | Jamie Smith Hopkins,SUN STAFF

Watch out, Silicon Valley: Maryland is nipping at your heels.

The Milken Institute ranks the state fourth in the nation on its 2004 technology and science index, with a score that's a fraction behind second-place California and third-place Colorado.

The index, first published in 2002 and updated last week, measures how well-positioned each state is to perform in an economy that's increasingly based on high technology and knowledge. Massachusetts ranked first.

Maryland's Department of Business and Economic Development is delighted by the results because the state -- which placed fourth last time, too -- improved its average score while the rest of the top five dropped.

"We are virtually tied for second place," said Christopher C. Foster, deputy secretary of DBED. "The goal is for us next year to be No. 2."

The index measures performance in research and development, risk capital and entrepreneurial assets, human capital, technology and science work force, and technology concentration and dynamism.

Maryland stacked up particularly well in some research and development subcategories, finishing first on R&D expenditures per capita for biomedical sciences, life sciences, physical sciences and engineering.

It was first in academic and federal R&D dollars per capita.

"We're the R&D state, as far as I'm concerned," Foster said.

A key area in which Maryland falls behind is industry research spending, in which it ranks 28th.

"That's an area that I think is going to be critical to Maryland as it moves forward," said Ross DeVol, principal author of the study, "State Technology and Science Index: Enduring Lessons for the Intangible Economy."

"You need a combination of the strong academic and the industry," he said. "That's what separates states like Massachusetts and California from many of the others."

If Maryland improves by that measure, it could easily jump to second place, DeVol said. It's in the top six in all of the overarching categories, and that consistency is a strength, he said.

The Milken Institute is a California-based economic think tank that focuses on job creation and similar activities.

The top 10 states for science and technology, as ranked by the Milken Institute, an economic think tank:

1. Mass.

2. California

3. Colorado

4. Maryland

5. Virginia

6. Washington

7. New Jersey

8. Minnesota

9. Utah

10. Connecticut

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