March 9, 2016

Mass. leads big data charge; draws $2.4B in investments

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Big data means big money for projects and companies in Massachusetts, with over $2.4 billion invested in companies in the last two years as well as $115 million from the federal government.

The latest figures from the Massachusetts Big Data project at the Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative show huge growth in the industry over the last two years -- with new investment in companies and research as well as payoff in new patents. There are 537 companies in the big data ecosystem of Massachusetts, according to the research.

Research in the industry was also found to be strong in Massachusetts. There was a 46 percent increase in big data-related patents from 2010-2014, with 3,191 patents granted to Massachusetts inventors in 2013 and 2014 combined in 23 different classes.

There are also currently 194 big data projects underway in the state, with over $115 million in federal funding. A majority of these grants were funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the National Science Foundation, NASA, and NOAA, among others.

"Massachusetts companies are taking advantage of the business opportunities that exist in the data space, as seen by the across the board growth in new businesses, funding, and patents," Pat Larkin, Director of the Innovation Institute at MassTech, said in a statement.

According to Larkin, the research also outlines that big data is a statewide phenomenon, from MassMutual's new data science center in Amherst, to relatively new academic programs in Worcester at Becker and WPI, in addition to the growing companies in the Greater Boston region. The study found 6,000 STEM students are graduated each year from a growing undergraduate education base. Advanced degrees, such as WPI's new PhD program in data science, continue the specialization.

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