August 15 2019
Research & Development

Capital Region Businesses spend more than $1B on R&D Annually

The Capital Region is one of less than 50 metro areas nationwide where businesses spend more than $1 billion on R&D annually, according to new data from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES).

R&D Spending

In 2015, businesses in the five-county Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan statistical area (MSA) spent $1.256 billion on R&D. Of that amount, $923 million was paid for by businesses and the remaining $333 million was paid by others, such as the federal government, customers or business partners. Among the 47 MSAs with more than $1 billion in R&D spending, the Albany metro area ranked 43rd, outspending the Cleveland-Elyria, Boulder, Rochester and Tucson MSAs.

Nationwide businesses spent $355.821 billion on R&D in 2015. NCSES found that more than half of that money was spent by businesses in 10 metros, with the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara MSA, also known as Silicon Valley, leading them at $48.861 million. Whereas the national average for business R&D spending paid by others was 16.6 percent, it was 26.5 percent for the Albany metro area and as high as 73.2 percent for the Manchester-Nashua MSA and 44.5 percent in the Raleigh MSA.

R&D Workforce

NCSES notes that “R&D is a rare activity in businesses, and the aggregate amount of business R&D is dominated by a relatively small number of large corporations with R&D budgets exceeding $100 million. These large corporations tend to perform most of their R&D activities in a small number of locations, which contributes to a high degree of geographic concentration of business R&D.” This high geographic concentration of business R&D explains why the Albany metro in 2018 had 6,476 workers in the research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences industry. That was the 10th greatest number of such workers among all MSAs and the seventh highest concentration (location quotient 3.37).

Major business R&D spenders and employers in the Albany metro area include:

  • GE Global Research
  • SI Group
  • Momentive Performance Materials
  • Tokyo Electron
  • IBM

Applied Materials is another business poised to become another major private R&D employer in the Albany metro area. The company is establishing an $850 million Materials Engineering Technology Accelerator (META) Center at SUNY Polytechnic that will employee 400.

CEG Activities

To attract more business R&D investment in the Capital Region, CEG is involved in the following activities:

Promoting at the region’s R&D assets and high skilled workforce at conferences around the globe for key tech industries, such as semiconductor, life sciences, advanced materials, offshore wind, cleantech and artificial intelligence.

Helping local tech companies attract and retain talent from outside the region by providing them and their spouses with community integration services through CEG Talent Connect.

Connecting local tech companies with uniquely skilled transitioning service members looking to work in civilian R&D occupations via CEG’s Veteran Connect Center (VCC). The VCC offers both a Veteran Concierge and access to JobPath, the nation’s leading veteran employment platform for transitioning service members.

Providing technology acceleration and other services to startups and established firm as well as improving access to labs and resources, via its Business Growth Solutions unit.

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