This report, “Patent Pending: How Immigrants Are Reinventing The American Economy” examines the contribution of foreign-born inventors to the American economy. From more efficient ways to purify seawater to metals that can be molded like plastic, the report highlights several immigrant inventors behind some of the most cutting-edge technologies. These foreign-born inventors are fueling patent awards at the top patent-producing universities, and their new innovations and new companies are advancing American industries and creating American jobs.
Key findings of the report include:
- More than three out of every four patents at the top 10 patent-producing US universities (76%) had at least one foreign-born inventor.
- More than half of all patents (54%) were awarded to the group of foreign inventors most likely to face visa hurdles: students, postdoctoral fellows, or staff researchers.
- Foreign-born inventors played especially large roles in cutting-edge fields like semiconductor device manufacturing (87%), information technology (84%), pulse or digital communications (83%), pharmaceutical drugs or drug compounds (79%), and optics (77%).
- The almost 1,500 patents awarded to these universities boasted inventors from 88 different countries.
In conjunction with the release of the report, more than 150 presidents of leading American universities echoed the significance of these findings by sending a letter (PDF) to President Obama and leaders in Congress calling for a bipartisan solution that ensures top international graduates have a clear path to a green card that will allow them to stay in the U.S. Additionally, New American Economy and Compete America also announced a recent poll (PDF) showing strong bipartisan support for immigration reform for STEM graduates. Based on all of this information, the report recommends three immigrations reforms the U.S. can adopt to foster growth in crucial fields like science, technology, engineering, mathematics and entrepreneurship that will ensure our status as the world’s hub of innovation.