Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Economic Growth through Innovation

The last several years in the global economy have been tumultuous at best, and a common question remains: how can we further stimulate the sluggish economy? Then a second question may have popped into your head: what can I do about the economy since I have a hard enough time trying to stimulate cells to grow in my cell-based assay? From an Economics standpoint, our answers to Question #1 may have a lot more in common than you realize. Innovation. It’s a goal for your research and a descriptor for BioTek’s products. Read on to be convinced, and maybe in the process we can even help answer Question #2 about cell growth.

Numerous studies and empirical evidence confirm a strong link between innovation and economic growth. R&D spending, patenting and the number of researchers in a population are common metrics that correlate with economic performance to illustrate this. Scientific industries have come out at the top of the list as critical for driving economic growth since the fruits of their labor have historically been strongly innovative. Despite this connection between innovation and economic growth, during economic downturns, many companies, universities, etc. get trapped in a "shore-up-the-ship" mentality where they limit research dramatically. While there is wisdom in taking necessary precautions if it is taken too far it can stagnate innovation. This can add further burden to a weakened economy. At the onset of economic downturn, innovation takes the back seat; during prolonged economic recession, lack of innovation can take the driver’s seat.

In order to boost the economy we need to innovate despite the uncertainty. A recent CNN Money article from October 2012 reported a study of the most innovative states in the USA, as measured by patent activity. Who would you expect to lead the list of 10 Most Inventive States? Massachusetts? California? Well, those two are certainly on there, at #2 and #3 respectively, but the #1 spot went to Vermont. Now that might seem odd to you at first. Vermont. Really? Don’t they make Cabot Cheese and Maple Syrup? They certainly do, but with an average of 3.5 patents per thousand residents, they also prove to be quite effective at innovation too (that’s roughly ~2190 patents total)!

Another detail you may not be aware of is that BioTek Instruments is located in Vermont. Despite BioTek employees representing less than 0.05% of the state’s population, it has over 30 patents in its portfolio and is proud to have added to Vermont’s innovative spirit. A main driver of this is BioTek’s continued strong R&D expenditure throughout various economic climates, resulting in consistent new product offerings. BioTek is passionate about continuing this tradition, independent of the economic climate.

Now all this discussion on stimulating the economy got us distracted from Question #2 at the start of this blog: how do you coax your cells to grow in your cell-based assay? Let me think. Have you tried BioTek’s EL406 Washer Dispenser? It may be the solution you’re looking for, and we couldn’t be happier when our novel products empower you to discover innovative solutions that will help keep the economy growing.

By: BioTek Instruments, Caleb Foster, Product Manager, Development

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