Thank You

Thank you to the following organizations for their continued support of our research and this Data Dashboard, which is part of Project STIR (Sparking Transformation using Information & Research).

Moses Taylor Foundation
The Robert H. Spitz Foundation
Willary Foundation
Scranton Area Community Foundation
William G. McGowan Charitable Fund

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Technology & Innovation

The Technology and Innovation section of this report identifies important indicators that measures some aspect of technological development or innovation.

Innovation in regional businesses, healthcare, and educational institutions is difficult to measure directly, however. Several datasets presented here are limited, and many innovations in processes or practices occur without being counted. It is incumbent on regional leaders to continue to promote a culture of innovation and creativity. Through entrepreneurship and creative thinking, new ideas can be introduced, applied to real-world problems, and brought into the global marketplace. Major areas of technology and innovation include research and development, scientific research, medical and pharmaceutical research, and information technology.

Globally, economic activity is shifting more toward knowledge-based jobs and industries like education, healthcare, and finance. Even traditional industries such as manufacturing and extraction are increasingly reliant on automation and other new technologies to stay competitive, and thereby reliant on STEM workers. In this year’s report, three STEM occupation categories are examined – computer and mathematical occupations; life, physical, and social science occupations; and architecture and engineering occupations. Industries with high concentrations of these jobs are analyzed as well. These include settings like manufacturing plants, college and universities, technology companies, insurance companies, and architecture and engineering firms. In 2022, 10,292 workers held STEM-related occupations in the region – up from the previous year’s total of 10,228.

Higher education institutions host a significant amount of research activity. Regionally, institutions reported over $4.2 million in spending on research. Together, they employed six full time staff and 34 graduate assistants dedicated to research activities.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) is a competitive grant program run by the U.S. Small Business Administration to support research and development with the potential for commercialization. The Small Business Administration also coordinates the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, which encourages joint ventures between small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. Allocations for SBIR awards in Pennsylvania reached new highs in 2021.

The amount of multi-stage venture capital investments and angel fund investments in the region also highlight how much innovation is occurring in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Though there is no single, systematic source for data on venture capital investment. Only known investments were counted, so this number is likely an underrepresentation of actual venture capital funding that supports innovation and entrepreneurship in the area.

STEM Occupations

Data for three STEM occupation categories were analyzed. In 2022, employment in architecture and engineering occupations decreased slightly in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties but rose slightly in Wayne County. This occupation category employs just over 3,000 workers across the three counties.

Life, physical, and social science employment has been generally stable in the region since 2013. Both Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties saw employment growth from 2019 to 2022 despite a dip in 2021. Wayne County has been stable at just under 100 jobs in these occupations. This category includes 1,597 workers in the three counties.

Computer and mathematical occupations have varied from year to year. Lackawanna County added 33 jobs in 2022, the fourth consecutive year-over-year increase. Wayne County also increased, to 285 jobs. Luzerne County saw a small decline, though the 3,366 jobs in these occupations was a higher total than any year prior to 2020.

Wages in all three of these STEM occupation groups were higher than wages in the region as a whole. In the three counties, architecture and engineering jobs have a median wage of nearly $79,000 per year, and science occupations have median wage of $65,400 per year. Computer and mathematical occupations have a median wage of $78,200 per year. The regional median wage for all jobs is $40,800 per year. The wage gap between STEM and non-STEM workers is apparent across different experience levels for workers.

Architecture & Engineering Occupations​

Source: JobsEQ (Chmura Economics)

Life, Physical, and Social Science Occupations

Source: JobsEQ (Chmura Economics)

Computer and Mathematical Occupations

Source: JobsEQ (Chmura Economics)

STEM-Based Industries

This table shows the industries with the largest numbers of employees in the three STEM occupation categories discussed previously. About 56 percent of the region’s STEM jobs fall into one of the 15 industries listed here.

Architectural, engineering, and related services had the highest number of STEM jobs as well as the highest percentage of its workforce (59 percent) in STEM occupations. In the computer systems design and related services industry, 839 workers are in STEM occupations – 58 percent of its total workforce. Computing infrastructure, data processing, hosting, and related services constitute the third largest STEM-employing industry in the region (572 STEM jobs; 41 percent of the industry workforce). Management of companies, insurance carriers, colleges and universities, and various other industries also host large numbers of STEM workers. Several heavy industries, such as electricity generation, transmission, and distribution; medical equipment manufacturing; and plastics manufacturing are also represented.

Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wayne County Employment in STEM-Focused Industries: 2022

Source: Chmura Economics

IndustrySTEM Job EmploymentTotal EmploymentPercent STEM Employment
Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services9911,67459%
Computer Systems Design and Related Services8391,43958%
Computing Infrastructure Providers, Data Processing, Web Hosting, and Related Services5721,37941%
Employment Services4646,2107%
Management of Companies and Enterprises4172,64616%
Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution3531,33526%
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools3315,2326%
Insurance Carriers3292,52113%
Executive, Legislative, and Other General Government Support2646,1054%
Depository Credit Intermediation2263,1907%
Justice, Public Order, and Safety Activities2222,8378%
Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services2141,21718%
Plastics Product Manufacturing1983,8295%
Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing1951,61412%
Warehousing and Storage18118,4931%


The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program awards grants to small businesses throughout the nation in order to promote federal innovation research and development. In 2021, firms in Pennsylvania received over $150 million in SBIR awards. This represents a slight increase from the prior year’s revised total and became the highest total of all years analyzed. The total number of awards fell, however, as the number of phase one and phase two awards both declined.

The Small Business Technology Transfer program (STTR) is similar to the SBIR program, with special emphasis on joint venture opportunities between small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. Pennsylvania’s 2021 award total exceeded $22 million; this total is slightly lower than the prior year but still far higher than any year before 2020. The total number of STTR grants fell by one from 46 to 45, though phase one awards increased from 30 to 32.

Pennsylvania SBIR Award Amounts

Prior year data has been revised
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

Pennsylvania SBIR Awards

Prior year data has been revised
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

Pennsylvania STTR Award Amounts

Prior year data has been revised
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

Pennsylvania STTR Awards

Prior year data has been revised
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

National Science Foundation (NSF)

In the three-county region, the total amount of National Science Foundation grants has averaged over $834,000 per year. There has been a significant increase in these funds since 2020, with 2021 and 2022 representing the highest years on record after respective year-over-year increases of 67 percent and 75 percent. Still, the regional total has consistently accounted for less than one percent of statewide NSF grant funds.

National Science Foundation Grants

Source:, National Science Foundation

Clinical Trials

The number of active clinical trials shown here is a point-in-time snapshot of trials in the recruiting phase, excluding online trials available to county residents which may be located anywhere in the country.

The number of ongoing trials in the region relate to critical areas of health research, including cancer, chronic disease, and mental health. Clinical trials counted in this manner numbered 141 between the two counties, including an increase from the prior year’s count in both Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties.

Active Clinical Trial Sites

Source: Centerwatch


Multi-Stage Venture Capital Investments

It is difficult to capture venture capital investment data from a single source, and this problem is compounded by the lack of non-proprietary data available. Due to these challenges, venture capital measured here likely underestimates actual investments. This list includes multi-stage venture capital investments and angel fund investments made by public and private sources over the past ten years, and which have been made public or provided to The Institute.

In 2020, over $2 million was invested directly by organizations reporting data to The Institute – including Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania and private sources. In 2021 and 2022, more than $500,000 in investments were identified in each year. Known recipients include manufacturers, software companies, health and wellness businesses, and business accelerator/incubator programs.

Regional Venture Capital Investments Reported to The Institute

Source: Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Private Funders. Previous figures have been revised.

YearAmount (Thousands)

Academic Research

Data on academic research activity is difficult to capture due to the varied types of research programs and projects undertaken in colleges and universities. Data was gathered for 11 institutions in the region, with satellite or multiple campuses counted as a single institution. Among them, they employed six staff members in dedicated research roles, and an additional 34 graduate assistants in research roles.

Expenses spent on research activities totaled approximately $4.25 million, including more than $1 million in salary and wages for staff positions fully or partially engaged in research.

Penn State University is not included in these totals as disaggregated data for local campuses was not available through IPEDS, though the Penn State system employs over 1,100 research staff and reported over $900 million in research expenses.

Academic Research

Source: IPEDS

Total Institutions11
Total Research Staff6
Full Time5
Part Time1
Research Graduate Assistants34
Research Expenses$4,249,462
Salary/Wage Expenses$1,000,032