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.

COMPETES Act Reauthorized without Funding

December 20, 2016

Last week, Congress passed the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (S. 3084), which reauthorizes the America COMPETES Act. The Act does not include any funding levels for any of the programs or agencies reauthorized in the bill but does reinforce Congress’s support for research and makes adjustments to some programs. One crucial component of the bill adjusts the cost share requirement for NIST’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership to 1:1 throughout the new authorization period.

Funding Feedback Needed at NIST

December 16, 2016

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is requesting feedback on a 2017 funding opportunity that will allow the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers and their partners to add capabilities to the MEP program, including projects to solve new or emerging manufacturing problems. Small and medium-sized U.S. manufacturers are encouraged to send information about their needs in four areas: critical manufacturing technologies; supply chain; potential business services, including information services; and other technologies or services that would enhance global competition. NIST also requests recommendations for other critical issues that it should consider in strategic planning for future investments. More information can be found here. Responses will be accepted through Jan. 13, 2017.

New York Investing $550 Million in Life Sciences Through 10-year Initiative

December 14, 2016

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a new initiative this week to grow the life science research cluster throughout the state, pledging $550 million through a variety of programs including tax incentives, state capital grants, and investment capital with an expected match of $100 million from private sector partnerships for operating support.

National Defense Authorization Includes SBIR Reauthorization

December 14, 2016

Congress approved the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2017, which now awaits the President’s signature. The bill includes several significant provisions for the innovation community, including:

OECD Forecasts Global Change in Economic Development Activities

December 14, 2016

Megatrends like ageing societies and digitization are expected to shape future research and development agendas across the globe, according to a recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). A broader distribution of science, technology and innovation are expected around the world due to the fast pace of economic development in emerging economies, and global competition for talent and resources will most likely intensify according to the OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2016. Such megatrends, and others highlighted in the report, require policy responses that will likely face major constraints, including high public debt, international security threats, a possible erosion of social cohesion and the rise of influential non-state actors, the report maintains.

ITIF, Brookings Urge Expansion of TBED Support

December 14, 2016

To ensure economic growth and the success of the industries of tomorrow, the U.S. government needs to expand federal support for research and improve the efficiency of the process of federally funded knowledge leading to U.S. innovation and jobs, according to a recently released study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and the Brookings Institution’s Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking. In Localizing the economic impact of research and development: Policy proposals for the Trump administration and Congress, ITIF and Brookings suggest 50 policy proposals that the new administration and Congress can undertake to bolster tech transfer, commercialization, and innovation.

Gallup: U.S. Remains on Long-Term Productivity Decline

December 14, 2016

Despite the economic recovery since the Great Recession, the U.S. remains in a long-term decline in productivity, according to a pro bono study by Gallup commissioned by the U.S. Council on Competitiveness for the council’s 30th anniversary. The study, No Recovery An Analysis of Long-Term U.S. Productivity Decline, finds that since 2007, U.S. GDP per capita growth has been one percent, and Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton warns that “America is dangerously running on empty.”

Cures Act Provides Research Funding, Direction

December 14, 2016

The 21st Century Cures Act was signed by President Obama on Tuesday and is broadly intended to facilitate the research, development and transfer of medical discoveries in order to better-address diseases affecting American people. While the bill has received mainstream coverage for its bipartisanship – the core authors were two Democrats and two Republicans – and billions in new research spending – more than $5 billion in authorizations – the text also contains potentially significant changes for federally-supported medical research policy.

Useful Stats: 50 State Table Reveals University R&D Change Over Five Years

December 14, 2016

Nearly half of the U.S. states and the District of Columbia saw a 10 percent or greater increase in higher education R&D expenditures from FY 2010 to FY 2015 with five of those states (Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Utah) seeing at least a 20 percent change, according to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey for 2015. Between FY10-15 overall U.S. research and development (R&D) spending at U.S.

Alternative to VC: Capital Models to Achieve Economic Prosperity

December 08, 2016

In last week’s Digest article – Alternatives to VC: Reconsidering the Startup Financing Paradigm – SSTI examined the conventional venture capital (VC) model as well as its advantages and limitations. In this installment, we will highlight alternatives such as revenue-based financing, venture debt, crowdfunding and a new financing model for cleantech proposed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers. We also take a look at the potential that these alternatives have for the field of tech-based economic development.

Manufacturing Competitiveness Relies on Talent

December 08, 2016

The U.S. ranks second on a global manufacturing competitiveness index, according to the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index by research firm Deloitte Global and the Council on Competitiveness. The U.S. ranking has improved in each of the past studies and is poised to take over that top spot from China by 2020, the study maintains. However, executives from across the world in responding to the study, noted that talent is the leading factor in determining manufacturing competitiveness, and finding and cultivating that talent is a topic that has received increasing attention from the manufacturing sector. While such rankings provide an interesting focal point, their real value lies in the discussion and attention focused on the subject matter. SSTI recently interviewed several leading thinkers on the subject, finding common calls for changing the approach to the talent pipeline in manufacturing, as well as a cautionary note on rankings.

TBED Issues Considered in State Budgets

December 08, 2016

As new and supplemental state budgets are being proposed, SSTI is monitoring the proposals and will report on developments impacting prosperity through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. The first budgets released – from Colorado, Mississippi, Oregon and Wyoming – represent a mixed bag with new initiatives proposed in three states and program elimination in the fourth.