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R&D and innovation funding sees some increases, more decreases in state budgets: CA, IL, MS, NC, OH

Breaking a two-year impasse, legislators in Illinois were able to pass a state budget that reinstitutes an R&D tax credit and implements workforce development programs. In California, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) will see a 28 percent increase in funding, while other innovation initiative are receiving level funding. In other states whose budgets SSTI analyzed this week for TBED-related funding, we found that Innovate Mississippi was able to maintain state funding and new funding was appropriated for workforce development at the state’s community and junior colleges; a variety of programs were cut in North Carolina; and, Ohio will not get funding for a state office focused on commercializing research across key industries that the governor had proposed. More findings from California, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina and Ohio are detailed below.

Research highlights declining auto industry, manufacturing next?

In a recent post, the Brookings Institution’s Mark Muro raises concerns about the U.S. manufacturing sector’s health due to the leading indicators of slowed growth in both auto sector output and auto manufacturing employment. Muro contends that these slowdowns are driven by plateaued consumer demand and automakers investing billions in developing technologies necessary for electric and self-driving cars.

Entrepreneurs invited to pitch clean energy ideas

Startup innovators from around the country have the opportunity to exhibit their ideas and win $10,000 during the Catalysts of the Climate Economy national innovation summit in Burlington, Vermont, Sept. 6-8. Innovators in the climate economy are encouraged to enter a contest that will result in five competitors pitching their ideas to a panel of judges, with the winning idea garnering the top prize.

Administration delays International Entrepreneur Rule, plans to rescind

One week before implementation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the International Entrepreneur Rule would be delayed until March 2018 and that a new proposal to rescind the rule will be made. The rule would have provided immigrants who have founded a high-potential startup with equity investment to remain in the country up to five years to scale the company.

Committees pass defense authorization bills affecting small business policy

The U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees recently passed their versions of the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation includes provisions for federal labs, SBIR and SBA technical assistance programs. These portions of the bills are currently very different between the chambers, and, if passed in their current forms, the final bill could address a wide range of policies affecting small business and innovation.

Maine voters approve $50 million in tech: Why it matters to all of us

Maine voters approved a special referendum on June 13 that will issue $50 million in bonds to fund investment in research, development and commercialization in the state’s seven targeted technology sectors. The Maine Technology Institute will distribute $45 million of the funds for infrastructure, equipment and technology upgrades. The remaining $5 million will be used to recapitalize the Small Enterprise Growth Fund to create jobs and economic growth by lending to or investing in qualifying small businesses.

States scramble to negotiate final budgets; DE, LA, ME, MO, NH, VT and WA reviewed for innovation funding

With a July 1 start to the fiscal year in most states, several states that were at an impasse over their budget faced at least partial shutdowns. Last minute negotiations restarted services in both Maine and New Jersey, while Illinois, which has been operating without a budget since 2015, faces threats of a downgrade in their credit rating if a deal cannot be reached. This week we present our findings of innovation funding from seven states, including $2 million in funding for a new public-private economic development organization in Delaware, an increase in funding in Louisiana for the state’s scholarship program for higher ed, and cuts to higher ed funding in Missouri, which also saw a severe drop in its funding to the Missouri Technology Corporation. Efforts in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington are also detailed below.

US manufacturing sector poised for revitalization but without the jobs, McKinsey says

In Making it in America, McKinsey Global Institute researchers contend that for the U.S. to see a revitalization of its manufacturing sector (as measured by global market share), the public and private sectors should treat it as a national priority. However, they warn that the revitalization will not produce a return to 1960s-style manufacturing employment. In the 1960s, the manufacturing sector employed approximately 30 percent of all American workers – it is down to approximately 9 percent today (a 70 percent reduction). The authors contend that due to the changing shape of manufacturing, technology, global competition, and other market demands that manufacturing job growth would only be modest. Most of the job growth potential will be found in other sectors that would benefit from increased economic activity.

Bioscience important for state growth

The bioscience industry has had a positive impact on states’ economies and continues to be a driver of economic growth according to a new report from Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). State lawmakers have recognized the importance of the industry, the authors state, and have responded to challenges facing the bioscience companies with legislative efforts focused on a supportive business climate, including increasing available funding, particularly for emerging companies in their state, and leveraging academic and medical research facilities to create strategically planned campus extensions such as Smart Zones or Innovation Zones that contain incubator space and incentives for start-up companies.

Commission led by Bloomberg, New America imagines the future of work

Whether or not the drastic changes coming to the future of work go well or poorly for America depends largely on how the country responds, according to a new report from Shift: The Commission on Work, Workers, and Technology. The commission, which is led by Bloomberg and New America and comprised of members from across industry, philanthropy, government, and academia, structures scenarios regarding the future of work around two guiding questions: Will the future have more or less work? Will that work be divided into jobs or into tasks? Based on these questions, the authors developed four scenarios to use as a framework, each with hypothetical driving factors, early signs, challenges, and signature technologies. They also propose examples of machine- and human-occupation within each scenario, as well as some potential educational, social, and geographic implications.

US House appropriations bills would make major cuts to innovation

The House Appropriations Committee began releasing FY 2018 “markup” budget bills this week, and the proposals would cut billions in non-defense spending. EDA would lose $117 million in program funding, SBA’s entrepreneurial development programs would lose $34 million, NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership would lose $30 million, and Energy’s ARPA-E would be eliminated, among other cuts.

Foreign governments capitalize on shifts in US policy

Since President Trump has taken office, the U.S. has seen several dramatic shifts in science and technology (S&T) policy from the previous administration—changes that several foreign leaders believe will create economic growth opportunities for their countries. As the Trump administration continues to roll out its S&T policy directives, these nations seem committed to growing their economies while chipping away at U.S. dominance in S&T.

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