The Demographics of Innovation in the United States

87 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2017

See all articles by Adams Nager

Adams Nager

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

David M. Hart

George Mason University - School of Public Policy

Stephen J. Ezell

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Robert D. Atkinson

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Date Written: February 24, 2016

Abstract

Behind every technological innovation is an individual or a team of individuals responsible for the hard scientific or engineering work. And behind each of them is an education and a set of experiences that impart the requisite knowledge, expertise, and opportunity. These scientists and engineers drive technological progress by creating innovative new products and services that raise incomes and improve quality of life for everyone.

But who are these individuals? How old are they? Were they born in the United States or abroad? Are they male or female? What are their races and ethnicities? What kind of education do they have? Identifying the characteristics of the individuals who create successful, meaningful innovation in America can shed important light on how to broaden and deepen the country’s pool of potential innovators through STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math), immigration, and overall innovation policies.

This study surveys people who are responsible for some of the most important innovations in America. These include people who have won national awards for their inventions, people who have filed for international, triadic patents for their innovative ideas in three technology areas (information technology, life sciences, and materials sciences), and innovators who have filed triadic patents for large advanced-technology companies. In total, 6,418 innovators were contacted for this report, and 923 provided viable responses. This diverse, yet focused sampling approach enables a broad, yet nuanced examination of individuals driving innovation in the United States.

Keywords: innovation, demographics, patents, STEM, immigration, education, workforce, survey

Suggested Citation

Nager, Adams and Hart, David M. and Ezell, Stephen J. and Atkinson, Robert D., The Demographics of Innovation in the United States (February 24, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3066060 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3066060

Adams Nager

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation ( email )

1101 K Street N.W.
Suite 610
Washington, DC 20005
United States

David M. Hart

George Mason University - School of Public Policy ( email )

3401 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-2279 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://mason.gmu.edu/~dhart/

Stephen J. Ezell (Contact Author)

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation ( email )

1101 K Street N.W.
Suite 610
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Robert D. Atkinson

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation ( email )

1101 K Street N.W.
Suite 610
Washington, DC 20005
United States

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