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.

Tech Industries Make Major Investments in University-Industry Partnerships

April 28, 2016

As the 2015-2016 academic year comes to a close, universities and their industry partners have announced several new university-industry partnerships to leverage university research capabilities to address industry needs. Fortune 500 companies including IBM, Rolls-Royce, and several pharma companies have agreed to commit millions of dollars to support these partnerships targeted at increasing the pace of scientific discovery as well as training the next generation of STEM professionals.

VCs Throwing Caution to the Wind? VCs Invest $12.1B in Q1 of 2016

April 28, 2016

Coming off a record setting year, industry analysts contended that there would be a more cautious U.S. venture capital industry (VC) in 2016 with discussion of a VC bubble. However, in Q1 of 2016, venture capitalists invested more than $10 billion for the ninth consecutive quarter with little concern over a bubble. In total, VCs invested $12.1 billion in 969 deals in the Q1 of 2016, according to the MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). At the same time, U.S. venture capital firms raised $12.0 billion for 57 funds during Q1 of 2016, making it the strongest quarter for funds raised since Q2 of 2006, according to the Fundraising Report by Thomson Reuters and NVCA. A review of the data indicates continuation of trends in where venture capital is being invested, the decline of investment in seed stage companies, and increasing corporate venture capital activity with 20.6 percent of funds invested in Q1 of 2016 coming from corporate venture capital.

VA Gov Set to Sign Package of ED Bills Including New Research Fund

April 28, 2016

On April 20, the Virginia General Assembly sent three economic development-focused bills (HB 1343, HB 846, and HB 834) to Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The bills include the creation of a new research fund and the creation of a network of regional economic development councils. Although the bills have yet to be signed, Gov. McAuliffe has publicly supported each of them. This package of economic development initiatives was originally proposed in the governor’s economic development strategy as well as his recent budget proposal. However, it took some compromise between the governor’s original proposals and the General Assembly to reach a final package.

Senate’s Energy Bill Increases Support for Research, Tech Transfer

April 28, 2016

In its first passage of a broad energy bill since the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the U.S. Senate included provisions in the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 (S.2012) that would: increase the authorization level for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science by 5 percent per year to $7.1 billion; increase the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program’s authorization level to $375 million in 2020, up from $291 million this year; help remove barriers for technology transfer at the federal laboratories; and, authorize the DOE to establish “microlabs” in close proximity to federal labs in support of regional innovation. The bipartisan legislation was approved by a vote of 85 to 12.

Sorting Through the Newest Energy Jobs Numbers

April 28, 2016

Last month, the Department of Energy (DOE) released its first United States Energy and Employment Report (USEER) in an effort to articulate in clearer terms the sector’s wide-ranging impact on the national economy. While this report covers the entirety of the energy spectrum, a related report released just weeks after, Clean Jobs America: A Comprehensive Analysis of Clean Jobs in America, looks only at those jobs related to the clean energy economy. Based on SSTI’s analysis, Clean Jobs America suggests that there are more than 2.5 million clean energy jobs in the United States, or 44 percent of the 5,729,882 energy jobs highlighted in the DOE report.

Female Partners Remain Small Fraction of VC Firms

April 28, 2016

Only 8 percent of partners with the authority to invest at 2,300 micro- and venture capital (VC) firms are women (and only 7 percent of the top 100 firms), according to CrunchBase Women in Venture, a new report providing a detailed snapshot of the state of female investors and founders. The report finds of 54 corporate VC divisions and 101 accelerators, 12 percent of partners were female.

EDA Releases FFO for $15M Regional Innovation Strategies Program

April 27, 2016

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) released the Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) and began accepting applications for the 2016 round of Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program funding. In this round of funding, the EDA has made $15 million in federal funding available to create and expand cluster-focused proof-of-concept and commercialization programs and early stage seed capital funds through the i6 Challenge and the Seed Fund Support (SFS) Grant competition, respectively. Managed by EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), EDA has made $13 million available for i6 Challenge grants and $2 million available for SFS grants. The deadline for the 2016 RIS FFO is 11:59 P.M. ET on June 24.

DOL Announces $90M for Apprenticeship Programs, Includes $30M for High-Tech Industries

April 27, 2016

The Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it will commit up to $90 million for the newly established ApprenticeshipUSA initiative with the intent to double and diversify the number of apprenticeships by 2018. Through the ApprenticeshipUSA program, the DOL will coordinate efforts with industry and education leaders, nonprofits, and local governments to accelerate and expand state apprenticeship strategies and grow the use of apprenticeships in new industries.

SC, NJ, Others Announce Funding for Industry-Specific Workforce Development

April 21, 2016

To build 21st century workforces in key S&T sectors, several new public-private initiatives have been launched in South Carolina, New Jersey, Utah, and Montana. These initiatives are intended to better align the educational training of students with the needs of industries that each respective state has identified as a key industry cluster. Target industries include advanced manufacturing, aerospace, biotechnology, chemistry and plastics, and cyber security.

South Carolina

New Developments in Capital: Strong Results Announced, New Funds Created

April 21, 2016

In the last month, major new developments have occurred in TBED capital programs. Launch Tennessee and Pittsburgh-based Innovation Works both announced positive findings about the growth of their startup investment ecosystems with $1 billion being raised by Tennessee startups from 2012 to early 2016 and over $279 million invested in Pittsburgh startups in 2015. Meanwhile in Ohio, both Youngstown-based and Cincy-based startups will see an influx of capital, while a new $150 million fund focused on stem cell companies and regions has been launched.

Do Benefits Outweigh Costs of the “Internet of Things”?

April 21, 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) is all the rage within the information and telecommunications sector and has both applications and implications for every aspect of your life.

Recent Research: Improving Recruitment/Retention Success with Elite Academic Life Scientists

April 21, 2016

The National Science Foundation tells of a record number of doctorates awarded at the same time the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) reports opportunities to secure tenure-track positions continue to shrink, the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association points out state support for higher education remain