Data Dive: An investment in our future

By Nick Hartman

Research and development spending is critical to our state’s economic future. Fortunately, Missouri’s private businesses and universities have made our state a leading location for this type of forward-thinking investment.

Spending on research and development has seen a consistent rise. According to the Missouri 2030 Dashboard, Missouri ranks 16th in research and development as a percentage of state gross domestic product. About 20 percent of that money goes toward agriculture research and development.

Percentage of research and development investment as a percentage of GDP. Source: National Science Foundation.

Missouri universities are one source of research and development in the state with 83 percent of all academic research in Missouri focused on agriculture. In 2014, $845 million was spent on agriculture technology research and development at Missouri universities.

Missouri universities are not the only ones investing in this research. In 2015, the St. Louis region boasted 4,500 jobs in agriculture technology research labs. St. Louis has been called the Silicon Valley of the Midwest as it is hope to companies and organizations such as Bayer. This year, Bayer announced it was moving its North American Crop Science division to St. Louis, bringing 500 jobs to Missouri.

Agriculture technology research and development is just one piece of the research and development work happening in Missouri. The state is home to companies such as Pfizer, which just this year opened a 295,000 sq. ft. research and development facility — a $236 million dollar investment. Kansas City-based Cerner is also a major player in research and development, having spent more than $7 billion over the years.

In addition, Boeing also operates an 180,000 sq. ft. facility in St. Louis, “devoted to the creation and development of technologies for use in current and future Boeing products.”

The impacts of this research and development are being seen and will continue to be seen for years to come.

See the full dashboard at

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