America’s research capabilities, entrepreneurial spirit and industrial prowess are poised to be focused and, in many cases, repurposed to realize the economic and employment returns many innovative technologies promise. However, if we are to be successful in assuring that all Americans share in this success, we need to expand the ability of many more locales to leverage their centers of basic research and related public and private R&D enterprises to enhance regional economic growth and competitiveness. Understanding what can accelerate more effective approaches to knowledge transfer, technology development and commercialization, as well as new S&T business start-ups is one way to accomplish this.
Our National Science Foundation-funded research, which focused on three cities in America – Philadelphia, St. Louis, and San Diego – each with high levels of research activity of potential value to growing science and technology based companies, provided some clues. We gathered significant data on regional characteristics, surveyed 215 technology companies and 89 innovation intermediary organizations, and conducted 126 in-person interviews. From this, we identified a variety of characteristics of innovation focused intermediary organizations and regional dynamics which may affect the levels of success cities have in identifying, qualifying, supporting and financing technology-based startup companies.
Image: Robin Chevalier