awarded to individual principal investigators, human resource data and links of human resource data to outcomes, such as patents, make it possible to ascertain the eventual outcome of the investment and consequently make some inference concerning its economic impact. Similarly, federal labs train a significant number of young investigators who eventually leave to work elsewhere. The subsequent performance of these trainees could provide one measure of the contribution that federal labs make to overall performance.

The plan of this paper is as follows. Section II summarizes changing patterns of research and development and comments on gaps in our ability to measure innovative activity. Section III defines what is meant by human resource data and describes the data that are readily available. Examples of what can be learned from the use of human resource data to illuminate changes in innovation as well as provide insight in areas concerning the innovative process where substantial gaps exist are drawn by using the Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR). The section concludes by examining what could be learned if the HR data that are available were to be linked with other databases. Section IV looks at lessons learned from studies of biotech firms. Section V examines citation analysis.

In this discussion we are particularly interested in (1) what we can learn from data concerning the deployment of human resources as well as what we can learn from indicators such as publications that have individuals as a fundamental unit of analysis; (2) what can be learned from studying collaborative and sequential1 relationships that often are identified by using human resource data; and (3) what we could learn if we had better human resource data or the ability to link together two or more existing databases, such as the SDR with firm data.


At least four broad changes have occurred in the structure and organization of innovative activity in the United States: ( 1) a decreased role for federal funding of R&D; ( 2) a change in the industrial distribution of innovative activities; ( 3) a shift of resources toward development activities and away from basic research; and ( 4) a change in the organization of research.


Here we use the term sequential to connote either the source of an innovation or the impact the innovation has on subsequent innovation.

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