The state's R&D spending growth is falling short of the growth in emerging markets in Asia.

Growth in research and development spending in Massachusetts easily outpaced the national average over a four-year period, but lagged behind several booming economies in Asia.

That's one of the conclusions released this week by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative in its latest annual "Index of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy."

Pat Larkin, director of the John Adams Innovation Institute at the MTC, said the report's authors chose to focus on comparing the Massachusetts economy with those in other countries this time around.

The Westborough-based quasi-public agency found that R&D spending grew by 6.6 percent from 1999 to 2003, easily beating the U.S. average of 4.5 percent. The state's growth over that time was on par with the European Union's.

But the most rapid growth in research and development spending occurred in Asian countries, such as China, which saw growth of 22.8 percent, and South Korea, which saw 11.4 percent growth.

Massachusetts excels in what the report calls the "chemicals export sector," including pharmaceuticals and components for life sciences companies. But the state's high-tech companies aren't meeting the rapidly growing overseas demand for information technology hardware such as computers and component parts, particularly in Asia.

There is plenty of information in the report to back up claims that the state remains a research and development hub. For example, Massachusetts, when compared with other developed nations, ranks second only to Sweden when the ratio of corporate R&D spending to overall gross domestic product is calculated.

"We were able to establish that Massachusetts is faring pretty well in terms of its concentration of research and its concentration of innovation, compared with other global centers of innovation," Larkin said.

Jon Chesto may be reached at jchesto@ledger.com.