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January 26, 2011

Rising one notch in rankings but falling lower in its overall score, New Jersey placed 11th on the Milken Institute’s State and Technology Science Index. Developed by the California-based non-profit think tank, the index tracks 79 indicators that measure a state’s science and technology capabilities and whether it can convert them into high-paying jobs.

New Jersey ranked high (4) for the number of capable entrepreneurs and amount of risk capital available to business -- as evidenced by the accessibility of venture capital, investments in green and nanotechnologies, and business starts and incubators. It also ranked fairly well with indicators related to technology and science workforce (9) and technology concentration and dynamism (15).

Nevertheless, the Garden State has been sliding down the rankings since the index was first produced in 2002, when it was seventh in the country. New Jersey performed poorly (24) with research and development inputs, which measure indicators such as R&D expenditures in all types of sciences -- federal, academia and industry. In 2002, New Jersey ranked 15th for this category. The state also fared poorly in human capital investment (23), which measures issues like appropriations for higher education and the number of Ph.D.s in science and engineering. In 2002, New Jersey ranked 16th.

Overall, Massachusetts, Maryland, Colorado, California and Utah ranked highest in the index this year. Neighbors Connecticut (9) and Delaware (10) ranked above New Jersey, while Pennsylvania (14) and New York (16) ranked below. Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware performed much better than New Jersey in its two weakest areas: human capital investment and research and development. They didn’t fare as well in the other three categories.

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