Technology industries are driving the new economy. States that position themselves to take advantage of this changing economic environment will realize its benefits; those that do not will see a widening income gap and declining revenue base. Growing state economies in this new century will require building a strong R&D base to support the burgeoning technology industries. To participate fully in the new economy, states should take several actions.
- Develop a plan for building the R&D base. The first step is to develop a clear plan for building the R&D base. The plan should reflect the vision for the state's future, be based on a thorough understanding of the state's economy and R&D assets, and benefit all areas of the state.
- Recognize that building the R&D base means a long-term, sustained, and significant investment. There is no quick route to acquire a thriving R&D base. Silicon Valley in California, Route 128 in Massachusetts, and Research Triangle Park in North Carolina are the results of decades of public and private investment. For example, North Carolina invested hundreds of millions of dollars during more than twenty-five years to support its universities and the research park's development. Most policy options to build an R&D base require a long-term, sustained, and significant investment.
- Hold initiatives accountable. State policymakers should determine in advance what policies and programs aim to accomplish and how results will be measured. Given the long-term nature of R&D investments, both interim and long-term performance measures should be developed and implemented.