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EDA announces funding for coal communities

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced approximately $30 million in funding for the Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC). As part of the FY 2017 appropriation for the Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) programs, the ACC will assist communities severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities.

Register now for best rates for SSTI Annual Conference: Building Bridges for a Better Future

Building Bridges for a Better Future serves as the theme of this year’s conference, taking place Sept. 13-15 in Washington, D.C. “We chose the theme after hearing from our members and others in the field about the importance of reaching outside of our traditional networks and imagining what the future may hold for those in the innovation economy,” said Dan Berglund, SSTI president and CEO. “We’re excited to hold the conference in the nation’s capital, and share the stories of successes, along with the challenges, that stakeholders in science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship are facing.”

Legislative sessions ending; AL, FL, NV, TN budgets reviewed

As more state legislatures are coming to the close of their sessions, more state budgets are being finalized. This week SSTI takes a look at the final appropriations for Alabama, which is decreasing its innovation funding in higher ed; Florida, whose governor signed a budget after vetoing more than $20 million in STEM, higher ed, R&D and other innovation funding; Nevada, with positive news in technology-based economic development funding; and Tennessee, where the Department of Economic and Community Development’s state funding is down by more than 27 percent compared to FY 2017.

Angel dollars and deals down in 2016, CVR report

The angel investor market in 2016 experienced a decrease in investment dollars and deal size, according to a new report from the Center for Venture Research (CVR) at the University of New Hampshire. CVR researchers found that total investments were $21.3 billion in 2016, a decrease of 13.5 percent from 2015.

$35.6 billion invested globally in university spinouts between 2013-2016

Over the past four years, 1,668 deals involving university spinout companies from across the globe attracted approximately $35.6 billion from 2013 to 2016, according to a new report from Global University Venturing. The report, however, highlights that global deals peaked in 2014 with 529 deals and total investments dollars peaked in 2015 with nearly $14 billion invested. As the authors highlighted, these global numbers were unsustainable and 2016 saw significant declines in both deals and dollars. In 2016, the total deals reported were 407 (21.6 percent decrease from 2015) and dollars invested was $6.4 billion (a 54.3 percent decrease from 2015).

NIH abandons plans to limit individual research funding, creates special fund

After much criticism, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it will abandon the Grant Support Index (GSI) plan – a strategy to bolster NIH funding support for the next generation of researchers by placing limits on individual research funding which SSTI previously covered.. Instead, NIH will launch the Next Generation Researchers Initiative (NGRI) that will allocate $1.1 billion over the next five years to support nearly 2,400 new grants for early and mid-career researchers whose grant proposals receive high scores, but fall short of receiving funds. At this time, however, there was no immediate promise of where that money would be found, according to an article in the The Chronicle of Higher Education.

ARPA-E successful in short term, needs longer life

Although it has been slated for elimination under the president’s proposed budget, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program is making progress toward achieving its statutory mission and goals, and it “cannot reasonably be expected to have completely fulfilled those goals given so few years of operation and the size of its budget.” That is among the findings released this week by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) in its assessment of ARPA-E. The project was overseen by the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) and was tasked with assessing ARPA-E’s progress toward achieving its statutory mission and goals, and determining whether it is on a trajectory to achieve them. In short, the answer is that it is.

MI’s research corridor spurs state economy

Michigan’s University Research Corridor, an alliance of Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, conducted $1.2 billion in academic R&D in the life, medical and health sciences, and served as a stabilizing force to the state’s economy as one of the only sectors that grew during the 2000s. Those are among the findings of the 2017 URC sector report, which was prepared by Public Sector Consultants. The report, Leading Discovery: URC Contributions to the Life, Medical and Health Sciences, notes that employment in the life, medical and health sciences sector, which accounts for one in eight jobs in Michigan, is up 18.9 percent since 2000, compared to overall Michigan employment, which is down 9.3 percent.

Does Defense have $250M IOU to small businesses?

The SBIR program has been a legislated requirement of the Department of Defense, an agency responsible for roughly 40 percent of all federal extramural R&D spending, for more than three decades. One might expect that over that amount of time, the Department of Defense would have developed a system to become compliant with SBIR’s fundamental provision that a minimum threshold of innovation research spending be directed toward small businesses. Yet, a new report from the Government Accountability Office concludes DOD couldn’t say if it was meeting the threshold because, DoD did not submit the required obligations data. The report states “DOD officials told [the GAO] that obtaining obligations data would require requesting information from more than 10 individual program offices that, in turn, would have to request the information from various DOD comptrollers, which would be a major effort.”

CO, MN, NM, OK state budgets take hit in innovation funding

As governors and state legislatures continue their negotiations over state budgets, SSTI has reviewed the latest to be signed. The process has proved difficult in more than a few states, with New Mexico having to overcome several stalemates and still facing shortages while in Oklahoma three-fourths of the state agencies are seeing decreased funding due to the state’s $900 million shortfall.

Innovation, education victims of FL governor’s veto pen

Among the $410 million in items Gov. Rick Scott struck from Florida’s 2018 budget were more than 100 appropriations totaling more than $20 million that would support STEM education, higher ed, R&D and innovation. Instead, the governor wants the state to spend more money promoting tourism. Scott vetoed more than $20 million for innovation-oriented economic development items.

BX Challenge supports diverse entrepreneurs in Chicago area

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has announced its first cohort of eight organizations in the Chicago-area entrepreneurship challenge. Named the BX Challenge, up to $3 million in grant funding will be provided over three years to innovative organizations that effectively recruit and support diverse entrepreneurs and scale startups in the Chicago area. The selected programs will serve underserved populations, including communities of color, women, veterans, and immigrants.

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