May 16 2023
Nanotechnology,Research & Development

Albany Retains Seat Among $1B Biz R&D Metros

80+ Companies from 18 States and 13 Countries Assigned Patents Listing Local Inventors

The Capital Region continues to rank among the nation’s billion-dollar class of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) for business research and development spending, according to new study from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). And with much of that spending going toward nanotechnology R&D, a separate study from the Center for Economic Growth (CEG) shows that over the last five years, thousands of semiconductor-related patents listing local inventors were assigned to more than 80 companies in 18 U.S. states and 13 foreign countries.

R&D Spending

In 2020, businesses in the five-county Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA spent $1.08 billion on R&D, with $746 million of that being paid for by companies and $334 million by others, such as customers or grant-giving organizations. The Albany metro’s 2020 business R&D expenditures were 4.2 percent above the total NCSES reported for 2019. While R&D paid for by the company was down 4 percent, it was up 29 percent in the paid-for-by-others category. Albany was one of only 53 U.S. metros where businesses spend more than $1 billion on R&D.


This R&D spending data, along with the patent statistics, demonstrate how the Capital Region is already serving as an international hub for computer chip R&D and is a prime candidate for the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC).

Last month, the Commerce Department released its vision and strategy for the NSTC, for which the 1.65-million-square-foot Albany Nanotech Complex is competing to be designated as its headquarters. While the blueprint does not name the site of the NSTC headquarters or any of its affiliated partners, the report notes that the NSTC “will provide a platform where government, national laboratories, industry, customers, suppliers, educational institutions, entrepreneurs, workforce representatives, and investors collaborate.”


According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) data, more than 5,017 semiconductor-related patents awarded since 2018 under the  H01L class of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) scheme listed inventors who live in the eight-county Capital Region.

Those patents were assigned to 88 companies from 13 counties and 65 cities. Within the United States, assignees hailed for 18 states. Nearly two-thirds of the patents listing local inventors were assigned to IBM, totaling 3,018. The next leading assignees were GlobalFoundries (1,129) and Tokyo Electron (266). Other assignees included General Electric, Crystal IS, Elipsis Technologies, Everspin Technologies, Inc., Samsung, Lam Research, and Applied Materials.


There were 1,152 Capital Region inventors listed on the semiconductor patents, based on their unique inventor identification numbers. Saratoga County housed the most semiconductor inventors (516), followed by Albany County (394), Schenectady County (169), and Rensselaer County (62). The most popular places for those inventors were Albany (241), Clifton Park (205) and Niskayuna (108). The investor places were their listed location at the time of the patent’s issuance.


CEG has a decades-long tradition of supporting the Capital Region’s tech industries. CEG consistently represents the Capital Region at semiconductor industry events worldwide. CEG is also serving  as a group sponsor several high tech apprenticeship programs, maintenance technicians at GlobalFoundries and  software developers.

CEG also promotes the region’s high tech industries, including R&D to Commercialization and  Advanced Electronics at conferences and other events worldwide, such as Semicon West. that highlight the strength and size of the advanced electronics R&D and manufacturing sector.



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