January 12 2021
Research & Development

Capital Region Businesses Spent $1B+ on R&D in 2018

Capital Region businesses continue to spend more than $1 billion on research and development, making it one of only 51 metros nationwide to surpass that threshold, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) analysis of new data from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES).

R&D spending

In 2018, businesses in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan statistical area (MSA) spent $1.169 billion on R&D, with $920 million of that being paid by companies and $249 million being paid by other sources, such as the federal government, under contract, subcontract, grant, or other funding arrangement. The area’s 2018 business R&D expenditures were down 6.9 percent from the spending level the NCSES last reported for 2015, though that was driven by less spending paid for by others rather than by the company.

The metro with the most business R&D expenditures was the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara MSA at $67.4 billion. The Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA ranked 48th among the 51 $1 billion-plus business R&D metros. However, it ranked 30th for R&D spending per capita ($1,325) and 31st for R&D intensity, which is the ratio of R&D expenditures to gross regional product (1.9 percent).

The Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area has the nation’s ninth highest concentration of scientific R&D services jobs, as measure by its location quotient (3.64). As of last June, the area had 96 establishments in this industry that employed 8,244. Examples of companies with sizeable R&D operations in the area include GE Research in Niskayuna, SABIC in Selkirk, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Milton, SI Group in Niskayuna, Momentive Performance Materials in Waterford, Taconic Biosciences in Albany and Germantown, and Tokyo Electron, GLOBALFOUNDRIES and IBM at the Albany NanoTech Complex.

On top of this business R&D spending, the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area has sizeable university R&D expenditures, which totaled $560.6 million in 2018. The world-class R&D assets at SUNY Polytechnic Institute Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Albany Medical College, among others, are key reasons why the region is able to support so much business R&D spending. They are also why the Capital Region in 2020 had more semiconductor device-related patents listing local inventors than any state except California.

CEG Initiatives

CEG and its Business Growth Solutions (BGS) unit leverage the Capital Region’s R&D assets to do the following:

Promote the region around the world at industry conferences;

Improve startups’ access to labs at facilities, such as those at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and others affiliated with Innovate 518, a University at Albany-led collaborative effort of Capital Region incubators, accelerators, and entrepreneurial service providers.

Accelerate commercialization by leveraging tech scouting, gathering technology-driven market intelligence, engaging Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) for testing and development;

Develop prototypes with its Stratasys F270 3D printer at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity or provide hand-on access to it;

Assist in the preparation of grant applications for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and Small Business Technology Transfer Program; and

Identify potential investors and providing venture pitch coaching through the VentureB series.

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