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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.

Budget commentary: Status quo is a good start

Both before and after the new administration released its budget plan, SSTI was communicating with both parties to identify how Congress would react to significant budget reductions. The message we heard was clear and consistent: Congress would continue to fund its existing priorities. The FY 2017 Omnibus shows that legislators were true to their word. Innovation policymakers and practitioners throughout the country should take a moment to appreciate this….

IN, MD continue funding innovation

As the state budgeting process comes to a close, SSTI will report over the coming weeks on actions taken by state legislatures to invest in economic growth through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. This week, we look at the budgets passed and signed by governors in Indiana, which includes new funding for an institute focused on health and life-sciences research and commercialization, and Maryland, which includes funding for the Maryland Technology Development Corporation.

2016 Halo Report: $3.5B invested, pre-money valuations down, syndicated deals up, inclusion is a work in progress

In collaboration with the Angel Capital Association and Pitchbook, the Angel Resource Institute (ARI) released its 2016 Annual Halo Report, which highlights several trends including a decrease in median pre-money valuation from 2015; an increase in the number of syndicated deals; and, data revealing the lack of angel investments in both female- and minority-led startups.

Unfairness, mistreatment largest contributors to employee turnover in tech industry

Unfair treatment is the largest driver of employee turnover in the tech industry, according to a new report by authors at the Kapor Center for Social Impact with support from the Ford Foundation. In the 2017 Tech Leavers Study, the authors surveyed a national sample of 2,000 adults who in the past three years have voluntarily left a job in a technology-related industry. They find that unfairness or mistreatment in the work environment was the most frequently cited reason for leaving (37 percent), especially for professionals from underrepresented populations (e.g., women, black, Latinx, and Native American).

Startup school provides wealth of free info

The traditional school season is ending across the country, but a new offering from Y Combinator (YC) does not follow a traditional path and instead allows students of startups the opportunity to participate from anywhere in an online course. The 10-week course, which began April 5, was open to startup founders, but the lectures are posted online weekly for “spectators.” Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley-based accelerator, explains on the course webpage that they thought the barrier to entry for people to start a startup is still too high, so they decided to share what they’ve learned through Startup School.

AR, ID make innovation investments

As the state budgeting process comes to a close, SSTI will report over the coming weeks on actions taken by state legislatures to invest in economic growth through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. Up this week is a look at commitments that legislatures in Arkansas and Idaho have made including funds for a new accelerator program, Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers, and more than $14 million for a biosciences research institute.

Commentary: The New Urban Crisis and inclusive technology-based economic development

Among this year’s most talked about books on economic development is Richard Florida’s The New Urban Crisis. This commentary provides a brief overview of Florida’s book, a response to his conclusions, and insight into what the crisis may mean for economic development practitioners more broadly. 

IT and workforce; a complicated relationship

As the relationship between technology and work continues to evolve, concerns abound, including its effects on jobs, education and business. The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine took a deeper look at the relationship and its impact, convening an expert committee to delve into the topic and set forth a research agenda. The resulting report, Information Technology and the U.S. Workforce: Where Are We and Where Do We Go from Here, explores the current state, trends, and possible futures of technology and work, as well as the possible implications for education, privacy, security and even democracy.

10+ tools to explore publicly available data

Here at SSTI, we receive requests from time-to-time from members looking to better understand their regional economy through data. Though the federal government has long been the largest provider of publicly available data, the mechanisms to explore it have been unwieldy. Now more than ever, users have options for interactive resources to explore government data and help inform decision making around economic development. This Digest article highlights many of the free tools and databases that are available.

Federal labs focusing on partnerships to boost tech transfer

The Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) held its national meeting this week, and the emphasis of many conversations around the conference site in San Antonio was how labs can implement new partnerships to yield greater tech transfer successes.

GAO urges action to prevent fraud in SBIR, STTR programs

In a report released this week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the 11 agencies participating in the Small Business Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs have varied in their implementation of fraud, waste and abuse prevention requirements. The ten requirements were put in place as part of the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011, following a 2009 congressional hearing regarding fraud in the programs.

Cluster opportunity to establish international link

U.S. clusters looking to collaborate with European clusters are invited to an event taking place in Washington, D.C., during the TechConnect World Innovation Conference, on May 16, 2017. The seminar and matchmaking event is being organized by the European Cluster Collaboration Platform and BILAT USA 4.0. BILAT USA 4.0 seeks to support transatlantic cluster cooperation for strategic business partnerships and enhance, support and further develop the research and innovation cooperation between the European Union and the U.S.