Seeds of Prosperity

Public Investment in Science and Technology Research

A Study of the Economic Potential of Proposition 301 at Arizona State University and a New Model for Assessing its Long-Term Value

April 2003

Connections, Attention, and Talent: Assessing Long-Term Value of Public Investment in Science and Technology Research

Almost every state hopes to capitalize on the tremendous wealth and job creation that can be generated by high tech science research — and billions of public dollars are being spent. But everyone is just speculating about the lasting value of these investments. While traditional assessments of return on public investment in science and technology tend to track short-term impacts, such as salaries, patents, and licensing revenues, the main foundations for long-term development of a knowledge economy appear to rely on a number of less tangible accomplishments. For example: Connections — the networks that develop between researchers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists; Attention — the publicity generated by the research and its networks that attract businesses and talent to locate in a region; and Talent — the highly skilled workers that such research attracts and trains. These three indicators of economic success — henceforth called the CAT measures — have yet to be quantified and applied in a useful manner. That is the purpose of this study. It will be conducted in three parts, each with a culminating report. The first part will analyze the FY03 science and technology research activities and results for ASU's Proposition 301 initiatives. The second will develop a methodology for quantifying and utilizing the Institute's CAT measures. The third will field test the CAT methodology on a selected aspect of ASU's Proposition 301-funded research, and analyze results to provide Arizona decision-makers with recommendations to guide future policy.

Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University
School of Public Affairs | College of Public Programs
Mail Code: 4220, 411 North Central Avenue, Suite 900, Phoenix, Arizona 85004-0692
Phone: 602-496-0900 Fax: 602-496-0964