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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.


Study extending life of cancer patients costs $125 per year of life gained

While much recent attention has been given to the Cancer Moonshot research effort, the National Cancer Institute established a network of publicly funded cancer cooperative research groups more than 50 years ago to evaluate new treatments for efficacy and safety. JAMA Oncology details an investigation that examined the extent to which positive NCI-sponsored cancer treatment trials have benefitted patients with cancer. The study estimated that 3.34 million life-years were gained in the population of U.S. patients with cancer through 2015, at a cost of $125 per life-year gained.

Recent Research: Making the case for more economic dynamism

By its very nature, economic dynamism can unsettle local economies. As businesses dissolve, jobs are lost. Technological shifts can drastically alter – or even replace – companies, occupations and entire industries. As these ripple effects move throughout communities, it is easy to focus on the negative impacts, but this loses sight of the importance dynamism has on national economic health.

Patent trolls delivered setbacks in court rulings

Two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions will greatly shape patent holder rights by limiting where patent lawsuits can be filed and restricting patent rights after a product is sold. These rulings are considered by many analysts to be beneficial for startups, small businesses, and consumers. The biggest losers will be patent trolls – patent owners who collect IP rights only to seek infringement damages – who likely will face more pushback against their patent lawsuits and may see fewer settlements.

Useful Stats: U.S. poverty rates by county for 1989, 1999, 2015

More than 46 million Americans, nearly 15 percent of the population, lived in poverty in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates. Compared against census data for 1999, more than 2,500 of the country’s 3,100-plus counties saw their rate increase. In 2015, 753 counties had a poverty rate of at least 20 percent — and 415 of these counties have been above this threshold in census data dating back to at least 1989.

USDA reorganization of Rural Development concerns supporters

While U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced that the Rural Development agency would be elevated under a reorganization plan because it would be placed under the direct oversight of the Secretary, not everyone is viewing the consolidation as an elevation.

US lacks in workforce development; competitiveness at risk

If it takes a village to raise a child, it may take an entire educational support system as well as public policy reform and funding to get that child into a skilled technical job. A two-year study coordinated by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that the disjointed method of workforce development approaches in the U.S. may be hampering the economic competitiveness of the country.

Canadian government launches C$950 million superclusters initiative

In an effort to incentivize large-scale industry partnerships, Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada will invest up to C$950 million (US$708.5 million) between 2017 and 2022 in superclusters as part of the nation’s Innovation and Skills Plan.

Kauffman: Startup activity reaches pre-recession levels

The Kauffman Foundation’s recently updated Index of Startup Activity finds that startup activity has increased for the third consecutive year and has now reached pre-recession levels. Nationally, the index, which measures business startup activity from 1997 to 2016, increased moderately after two years of sharp growth.

NIH considers limits on individual research funding; impacts examined

In Part 1 of this two-part series, SSTI examined NIH’s proposed changes that will place limits on individual researcher funding. In Part 2, impacts of the limits are explored.

In the May 18th Digest, proposed changes to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants funding process were highlighted. The changes – tilted the Grant Support Index (GSI) – would impose a general limit of three major grants per researcher. Since the article was published, the NIH’s director, Francis Collins, announced during a U.S. House appropriations subcommittee that NIH intends to proceed with the GSI proposal. In this second part of the series,SSTI reveals areas within the field of tech-based economic development that could see the benefits and/or the negative unintended consequences of these changes.

White House budget challenges science, innovation proponents

The president’s budget for FY 2018 would eliminate funding for numerous innovation programs, slash spending on R&D and technology transfer and limit education and training opportunities. The full budget proposal may well be “dead on arrival” in Congress, but this is not the same as Congress rejecting each budget proposal.

Highlights from the President's FY 2018 Budget Request: Dept. of Agriculture

The president’s FY 2018 request for discretionary budget authority to fund programs and operating expenses is $21.0 billion, approximately $4.8 billion below the 2017 estimate in discretionary program funding for the Department of Agriculture (USDA). This includes funding for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Rural Development, Forest Service, food safety, research, and conservation activities. However, the budget does not include the USDA reorganization plan that was announced by Secretary Sonny Perdue on May 11, which proposes a change in status for Rural Development.

Highlights from the President's FY 2018 Budget Request: Dept. of Commerce

The Department of Commerce houses a variety of science- and innovation-relevant agencies, most of which receive substantial cuts in the administration’s FY 2018 budget. Collectively, Commerce would lose many of its initiatives targeted to entrepreneurs, most notably the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

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