Few states possess as many of the assets needed for innovation-driven growth as Pennsylvania. Powerhouse research universities are working on the most critical issues of the day in life sciences, artificial intelligence, robotics, transportation, and energy. Breakout companies are making headlines and garnering major investments. And the diversity of talent in the state’s cities and rural areas is contributing to a rich capacity for community-based innovation at a time when creativity and inclusion matter more and more. In short, Pennsylvania has much of what it takes to be a winner on a national economic map characterized by a short list of “superstars” and a longer one of “leftbehind” places.
And yet, for all that, Pennsylvania has not been able to convert its assets into abundant, high-quality economic growth.
Specifically, leadership in some of the most prized factors for innovation-driven growth (e.g., research and development, patents, tech transfer) has failed to translate into the capstone indicator of innovation success: broad-based employment across an array of high-tech, high-pay advanced industries. Given that, Pennsylvania needs to unlock its innovation potential, which will require catalytic steps on the part of state government. To assist with that, this report reviews the state’s major innovation trends and challenges, and suggests a set of state-level policy recommendations with an eye toward helping the new governor energize the state’s innovation sector.