Tennessee falling behind in Science and Tech rankings

Tennessee continues to fall behind most other states when it comes to converting its science and technology assets into jobs and companies, according to the Milken Institute’s State Technology and Science Index for 2010.

Tennessee slipped into the Bottom 10 at No. 41 in the 2010 rankings, down from No. 40 in the 2008 index and No. 34 in 2004.

The independent economic think tank released the 2010 rankings on Jan. 25.

Massachusetts tops the 2010 list. Maryland, Colorado, California and Utah complete the Top Five.

We should care about this because technology development is vital to economic development on both the state and national levels.

“The recent financial and economic crisis highlights the critical role that technological entrepreneurship plays in providing a diverse and flexible economic structure. With many countries making progress in competing against the U.S. — and in some cases exceeding it — in many measures of future preparedness, states must fashion their own strategic direction,” the Milken report says.

Milken’s rankings are based on 79 different indicators in five areas — Research and Development Inputs, Risk Capital and Entrepreneurial Infrastructure, Human Capital Investment, Technology and Science Work Force, and Technology Concentration and Dynamism.

Tennessee’s strongest (relatively speaking) area is Technology Concentration and Dynamism, which includes components such as average yearly growth of high-tech industries, number of high-tech industries growing faster than U.S. average, number of Inc. 500 companies per 10,000 businesses and percent of employment in high-tech jobs.

Complete results of the State Technology and Science Index are available on the Milken Institute website (registration may be required)

Milken Institute press release