[hat tip to Richard Florida]

UNESCO defines research and development (R&D) as:

Any creative systematic activity undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture, and society, and the use of this knowledge to devise new applications. Includes fundamental research, applied research in such fields as agriculture, medicine, industrial chemistry, and experimental development work leading to new devices, products, or processes.

Greater investment in R&D activity is more likely to result in greater innovation. Sure, you might get lucky; every dog gets thrown a bone sometimes. But more often than not, greater payoffs come to those who invest more in R&D.

Using data from the National Science Foundation and the United States Census, I compiled the following table. Industrial R&D includes all monies spent on R&D activities by the federal government, corporations, and other entities.


Iowa is 31st on the list when it comes to R&D expenditure per capita. We're not exactly a hotbed of innovation compared to other states, primarily because the only areas that attract significant numbers of creative talent are Des Moines (state capital), Ames (Iowa State University), and Iowa City (University of Iowa).

What's the situation in your state? Do the numbers surprise you?