Posted: 12:49 pm Friday, April 12th, 2013

Ouch! Despite huge investment, Florida ranks 38th in tech and science ranking 

By Jeff Ostrowski

Max Planck Florida's lab in Jupiter is part of the state's billion-dollar bet on biotech

Over the past decade, Florida has committed $1.5 billion to build nonprofit biotech labs, not to mention $135 million in incentives to animation firm Digital Domain.

The result? Florida ranks in the bottom third of states in the Milken Institute’s new tech and science report.

It’s no surprise that Florida trails tech powerhouses Massachusetts, Maryland and California, which take the top three spots. It’s more surprising that Florida couldn’t even beat Tennessee, Hawaii and Montana, which place 35th, 36th and 37th.

“Florida has clearly tried to step up its game,” said Kevin Klowden, senior economist at the Milken Institute and co-author of the rankings.

Klowden offers the familiar caveat that life-science hubs don’t sprout overnight, even with $1.5 billion in public fertilizer.

“Biotech takes a while to build up,” he said.

The Milken Institute looked at dozens of measures, including education spending, student test scores, federal research grants, venture capital investment, patents issued, and concentration of scientists and engineers.