SSTI Digest

The latest reporting and analysis on breakthroughs in technology-based economic development research and issues that matter most to you. To receive the SSTI Weekly Digest via email, sign up here.


University R&D Funding Sources Shift While Overall Level Grows

November 30, 2016

University research and development expenditures reached $68.8 billion in FY 2015, an increase of 2.2 percent from FY 2014, according to recently released data from the Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics within the National Science Foundation. While the bulk of the funding (55.2 percent of total R&D expenditures) comes from federal expenditures, in current dollars, federally funded R&D at universities dropped 0.2 percent from $37.96 billion to $37.88 billion in FY 2015. Meanwhile, nonfederal R&D expenditures accounted for 44.8 percent of the total in FY 2015 compared to 43.5 percent in FY 2014 growing from $29.24 billion in FY 2014 to $30.79 billion in FY 2015. The greatest increase came from the business community (which increased their funding by 7.5 percent to top $4 billion for the first time), followed by nonprofit organizations and institution funds. Universities’ own funding of R&D comprises the largest source of non-federal R&D funding, or $16.7 billion in FY 2015.

Tech Sector Affects Every Congressional District

November 30, 2016

The country’s competitive position in the global economy hinges on developing broad-based understanding and support for federal policies that will spur innovation and growth.  The policy discussions surrounding the high-tech economy should encompass all congressional districts, not just the iconic places like Silicon Valley, according to a report released this week by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

USDA Research Yields New Inventions

November 30, 2016

Mosquito-resistant uniforms for U.S. military personnel and a bio-refinery that turned a city landfill into an “energy park” are two new developments resulting from investments in scientific research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The USDA Annual Report on Technology Transfer for FY 2015 includes new agriculture-related discoveries, inventions and processes made by USDA researchers, universities and small businesses with the potential for commercial application.

Alternatives to VC: Reconsidering the Startup Financing Paradigm

November 30, 2016

Venture capital (VC) financing is a highly competitive process that backs only 1 percent to 2 percent of all startups that apply for funding, leaving many searching for financing alternatives.  In this two-part feature, SSTI examines the typical VC model, its advantages and limitations, and next week will highlight alternatives such as revenue-based financing, venture debt, crowdfunding and a new financing model for cleantech proposed by Ma

Energy Department Initiatives Create Opportunities for Efficiency, Innovation

November 30, 2016

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the Zero Energy Districts Accelerator, an initiative to develop best practices for establishing commercial districts that have net-neutral energy consumption. The accelerator is now one of 12 listed under the Better Buildings Initiative, which also includes dedicated programming for community and manufacturing initiatives.

DOC Study Finds Apprenticeships Beneficial for Businesses, Employees

November 30, 2016

Ninety-one percent of apprentices find employment after completing their program with an average starting wage above $60,000, according to a new report from the Department of Commerce’s Economic and Statistics Administration (ESA). In The Benefits and Costs of Apprenticeships: A Business Perspective, ESA researchers performed a case study analysis of 13 apprenticeship programs launched by businesses and intermediaries from a variety of occupations, industries, and regions.

Roadmap Lays Path for Future Robotics Research

November 30, 2016

Targeted investments in robotics research and development are critical to America’s competitiveness, according to a new roadmap authored by a group of more than 150 robotics experts across academia and the private sector. The plan, From Internet to Robotics: A Roadmap for US Robotics, presents potential research priorities for the field and discusses the workforce development, legal, ethical, and economic ramifications of automation technologies.

Investing in Regional Innovation Strategies

November 16, 2016

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced this week that 35 organizations will receive nearly $15 million in funding to create and expand cluster-focused, proof-of-concept and commercialization programs, and early stage seed capital funds through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.

STEM Education Designed to Reach Broad Audience

November 16, 2016

One of the greatest assets in transforming STEM education is so simple it is often overlooked: a child’s innate sense of curiosity. Harnessing that curiosity and engaging students in activities that instill a sense of wonder and discovery can help legitimize behaviors that are core to the practice of science and engineering.

Engineering Job Mismatch Spurs Study

November 16, 2016

More than 40 percent of people trained as scientists and engineers indicate they are either working outside their field of study or working in a field only somewhat related, according to a recent study. Findings reveal that the majority of those working outside their academic major choose to do so voluntarily, and they are more likely to become entrepreneurs. Less than 25 percent of educational mismatches occur because of labor market conditions. Instead, workers are choosing different jobs due to changing career interests or family obligations.

States Shifting to Clean Energy See Progress

November 16, 2016

An increase in electricity generation from renewable energy sources and policies driving a shift to clean energy are revealed in a new report from the Georgetown Climate Center that highlights 19 states’ progress toward a cleaner and more efficient electricity system. Progress includes a 40 percent increase in wind energy capacity nationally, and a 577 percent increase in solar capacity growth between 2011 and 2014.

Blockchain Tech: An Emerging Industry? (Part 2)

November 16, 2016

Last week, the basics of the blockchain platform as well as the potential that it presents as an emerging industry were presented in the Digest. In this week’s post, the use of blockchain platforms and applications for the fintech industry as well as other industries that could see disruption due the introduction of the blockchain are explored.

Pages