Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Son of Massachusetts Miracle

I'm in the Boston area today, taking care of some family business. I took a ride on the old Route 128 on the way out of the airport, and thought of how well the region is doing in remaking itself one more time. I left the state after the first Massachusetts Miracle was already history (I'm talking tech, not Red Sox and Patriots). This story in today's Boston Herald says the state is doing well in the new small world, but is worried about competition.

The story also mentions "clusters," which reminded me that while communities across the country are looking to attract nanotech research parks and other similar clusters of business, venture capital and academic labs, not everybody agrees that technology clusters really produce economic miracles, as this working paper from the AEI-Brookings Joint Center indicates.

Here are excerpts from today's Herald story:

Mass. tops in nano, but execs worry (Boston Herald)

    Massachusetts ranks as the biggest state in the nation for nanotechnology activity, according to a survey that looks at the cutting-edge sector some say is the next frontier for scientific breakthroughs.

    A group of local industry experts are pushing to build a multimillion-dollar fabrication center they argue is critical if Massachusetts is to keep its lead in the emerging field.

    Lux Research Inc. rates the Bay State as No. 1 in terms of the per capita number of nanotech companies, patents, research activity, commercial applications and other factors.

    The survey, previewed last week at a Massachusetts Software Council conference, puts California at No. 2 and Colorado at No. 3.

    Even if per capita calculations are excluded, Massachusetts still leads the nanotech race in the United States, said Matthew Nordan, a Lux researcher who presented the preliminary findings.

    ... But the local industry officials, nervous about Massachusetts losing its lead, are in the early stages of pushing the fabrication center, where prototype nanotech products can be built and tested before commercial manufacturing. More here

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