Investments in research and development are a critical ingredient for economic growth. In the past five years, the state of Maine has dramatically increased its funding for R&D from $2.5 million per year to nearly $40 million in FY 2001.
This increase in funding has been accompanied by recognition of the importance of evaluating the impact of these investments. In 1999 the legislature authorized MSTF to undertake a comprehensive five-year evaluation that focuses on three questions:
- How competitive is Maine’s publicly funded R&D and has the state’s competitiveness improved over time?
- What is the impact of Maine’s R&D investment on the development of Maine’s R&D industry?
- What is the impact of Maine’s R&D investment on the level of innovation and innovation-based economic development?
This Initial Evaluation of Maine’s Public Investments in Research and Development represents the first stage in that five-year study. The report establishes the processes and methodologies that will be used to collect and analyze the data. It identifies the performance measures by which each R&D program will be evaluated. Since most research and development investments take many years to mature, the best way to identify early progress is to examine individual examples. The report therefore also includes a series of case studies that offer insights into the dynamics of Maine’s innovation-driven economy.
|MSTF President Joel Russ and members of the independent review team meet with Gov. Angus King to discuss the R&D evaluation. From left to right: Joel Russ, Gov. King, Dr. Michael Luger, Dr. Irwin Feller.|
This evaluation marks a milestone in public investments in R&D. While nearly every state invests in research and development, no state has yet conducted a comprehensive evaluation of its investments to determine how these contribute to its economic growth. Maine’s leadership in this area offers a model for other states.