The Demographics of Innovation in the United States
87 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2017
Date Written: February 24, 2016
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
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