Competitiveness Indicators

Competitiveness Indicators are a means to measure or benchmark a geographic location's (or firm's) footprint in the innovation to commercialization cycle. Indicators are available for both inputs to competitiveness (the presence, strength and funding available to support development) and outputs (means to measure or benchmark). Typically economic indicators are used, such as market share, revenue, or trade, but these are not readily available for nanotechnology-specific areas. Therefore, the output indicators for nanotechnology development are primarily non-economic and focus on means to gauge spillover potential in areas such as knowledge generation and human capital. Alternatives available for nanotechnology are listed in the table below and are measurable on an absolute or a per capita basis.

Several benchmarking strategies using different combinations of the competitiveness indicators below currently exist for nanotechnology economic development. See the Benchmarking Strategies page for an overview of these strategies and California ranking in each of the strategies that ranks by geography at the state-level.

TABLE 1: Nanotechnology Competitiveness Indicators

Inputs Outputs
Economic Inputs: Public and Private Funding: Support for Nanotechnology Activities

Public: Government
  • National/State Level: budget dollars specifically allocated to nanotechnology development
    • Direct: Start-up Funds: NIST TIP, NIST ATP, NSF, SBIR, and STTR grant recipients
    • Indirect: Infrastructure Development
      • Academic & government labs
      • Facilities to incubate or aid commercial efforts
      • Formal nanotechnology initiatives
    • Indirect: Industrial or consumer tax incentives
Private: Corporations or Venture Capital
  • Corporations: internal funding specified for nanotechnology: funding may indicate concept is closer to commercialization if firms are investing
  • Venture Capital: investments by VC firms; VC funding is most popular in the United States
  • Start-up investment rounds: total number of rounds of investment in nanotechnology start-ups headquartered in a state within a time frame.
Public/Private: Joint Initiatives
Non-Economic Outputs: Publications, Patents, People, & Participants as proxies to measure knowledge generation, innovation, human capital, and participation.
Publications: Knowledge Generation
  • Quantity: Number of Articles Published
    • Lead or Corresponding Authors
    • All Authors
    • Fraction of All Authors
  • Quality:
    • Author Citations
    • Articles in High Impact Journals
Patents: Innovation
  • Quantity: Number of patents
  • Quality: Citations to patents
People: Human Capital
  • Highly-cited researchers
  • Journal editors
  • Doctoral dissertations
  • Prize winners
Participants: Companies
  • Number of firms
  • Number of supporting organizations (federal and university nanotechnology centers): presence and strength of supporting environment