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MI and VA see increases in TBED budget, while MA Gov vetoes some line items

Funding for TBED programs took a hit under Massachusetts Gov. Charles Baker, who vetoed millions of dollars in programs that the legislature had approved in the FY 2018 state budget. Michigan programs fared better with funding maintained to diversify the state’s economy and funding for entrepreneurship ecosystems getting a boost. And in Virginia, after a messy budget process addressing an addendum to its biennial budget, many innovation programs saw increases.

Federal science & engineering support to universities declines

At least 1,016 academic institutions across the U.S.  received federal support for a range of science and engineering functions in FY 2015, according to the latest survey from National Science Foundation. While the total was up slightly from the 1,003 institutions reported in the previous year, NSF also found that larger community divided a federal pie that was 3 percent or $900 million less than 2014, in constant dollars.  The FY 2015 total figure of $27,747 million was 6 percent less than the 2012 total of $29,580 million, also in constant dollars. 

Foundations look for 50% tax cut

Presently, the IRS provides private foundations a tax break if they show a trend of exceeding qualifying distribution requirements (grants). The legislative intent is for the tax reduction to serve as an incentive or reward for those foundations that are more generous with their grants over a five-year period than the 5 percent minimum distribution required by law.  The Council of Foundations wants all philanthropists to get the tax break regardless of the trends in their generosity and disbursements.  Four senators apparently agree with the council as they have included the provision in S. 1343, the recently introduced bill addressing several tax provisions dealing with charitable giving. The bill was introduced by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), both members of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, with Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore) as co-sponsors.

Manufacturing resurgence needs smart supply chain

Restoring America’s competitive edge requires a new approach to managing suppliers, one where all the players are connected, collaborative, and focused on maximizing shared value – a “smart supply chain” – says a new report from MForesight. SSTI spoke with Tom Mahoney, one of the report’s authors and associate director at MForesight, who said that if steps are not taken to move the supply chain in the right direction, or if funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership is eliminated as has been proposed in the White House’s budget, the outlook for manufacturing will be poor. Ensuring American Manufacturing Leadership Through Next-Generation Supply Chains, by Mahoney and Susan Helper, provides insight into the current challenges and opportunities facing supply chain management in U.S. manufacturing and provides recommendations for regaining a competitive edge. 

Regionally focused investors yielding more than ROI

An SSTI analysis of exits occurring during the second quarter by a number of venture development organizations reveals equity investment in innovation companies undertaken as strategic public-private partnerships for regional growth can yield more for their communities than just hitting the return on investment expectations of seed and traditional venture capital. The recent exits highlighted below reveal a variety of economic development impacts resulting from effective innovation investment strategies, including:

  • Increased competitiveness and growth of local firms through mergers and acquisition;
  • New market entry and new product lines for existing manufacturers;
  • Opportunities to broaden wealth generation among wider population;
  • Foreign direct investment and company relocation; and of course,
  • Wealth generation, tax revenues and job growth within the local community.

Note: this is SSTI’s second look at recent VDO exits; selected first quarter 2017 exits for VDOs are available here.  Second quarter highlights include:

Finding causes for states’ tax return shortfalls

Many states took another hit to their budgets in April, with income tax revenue falling 4 percent compared to last year according to a new report from the Rockefeller Institute of Government. By the Numbers takes a look at the declining revenue, which it says was worse for April and May this year than had been forecast, but not as large as some states have experienced in recent years. Several explanations are explored.

USPTO ‘lottery’ creates huge economic advantage for winners

In a recent paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the authors contend the U.S. Patent Office (USPTO) has created a lottery-type system that creates great economic benefit for startups and other patent-seekers that drew lenient patent examiners. In What Is A Patent Worth? Evidence from The U.S. Patent “Lottery,” the authors found that patent applications by startups that were reviewed by lenient USPTO examiners had, on average, 55 percent higher employment growth and 80 percent higher sales growth five years later. Those startups also pursue more and higher quality, follow-on innovation. These results are, in large part, due to increased access of funding from VCs, banks, and public investors.

Record number of doctoral degrees conferred in US in 2015, NSF

U.S. institutions of higher education awarded 55,006 research doctorate degrees in 2015 according to the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED). This figure represents the highest number ever reported. The report also highlights several other multi-year trends.

Thanks to SSTI member outreach, House committee votes to fund Regional Innovation Strategies in FY 2018

When SSTI learned that the House commerce appropriations subcommittee’s draft FY 2018 bill did not specifically fund the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program, we called on members to contact the full committee and ask that the bill designate funding for RIS. Thanks to the quick action of SSTI members, the House Appropriations Committee passed the bill last week with level RIS funding of $17 million for FY 2018.

White House indicates FY 2019 budget will again propose deep science, innovation cuts

The White House Office of Management and Budget sent a letter directing all agency heads to prepare FY 2019 budget requests with the figures provided in the administration’s FY 2018 request. Because the long-term budget provided few year-over-year changes for science or innovation, the administration will therefore again propose to eliminate Regional Innovation Strategies, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, much of the SBA’s entrepreneurial development funding and other innovation programs, while also making deep cuts to many R&D initiatives. Read SSTI’s full coverage of the administration’s FY 2018 budget request for more information.

Pew finds Republicans increasingly negative on higher ed

new survey released by the Pew Research Center reveals a much more negative view of the  impact of colleges and universities on America on the right, with a majority (58 percent) of the Republicans and Republican-leaning independents surveyed saying that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country compared to 45 percent last August. Democrats and Democratic leaning independents (72 percent) say the colleges and universities have a positive effect. The differences between the parties extend to other areas covered in the survey, including the national news media and religious organizations, but overall opinion has remained about the same.

Building bridges focus of SSTI 2017 Annual Conference

SSTI’s annual conference will focus on building bridges for a better future by establishing new connections and wading through an uncertain political climate during a three-day conference filled with tips and insights. The agenda is now online at ssticonference.org and early bird rates are available. The conference, held in Washington, D.C., Sept. 13-15, will feature speakers on innovation, capital, policy, workforce, R&D, manufacturing and more.

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