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Legislative & Federal News for March 2, 2017

March 02, 2017

This week we take a look at the Trump administration's proposed $54 billion increase in defense spending, NDD United's letter to Congress (which SSTI signed), and testimony in favor of TBED funding.

Patents negatively affect follow-on innovation in select industries, research finds

March 02, 2017

Last month, SSTI highlighted a recent research paper on the debate regarding university-industry collaboration’s impact on the academic ideal of open sciences and reduced academic productivity. In a new working paper from National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), MIT researcher Heidi Williams examines another controversial Intellectual Property (IP) topic – whether patent systems, in practice, improve the alignment between private returns and social contributions.

Private investment in basic research tops $2.3 billion

March 02, 2017

Private funders invested more than $2.3 billion in basic research at 34 universities and eight research institutions in 2016, with more than 84 percent of funds going to research in the life sciences, according to the Survey of Private Funding for Basic Research.

Useful Stats: State and Local Support for University R&D (2011-2015)

March 02, 2017

State and local governments invested $3.8 billion in R&D at institutions of higher education in FY 2015, with the top ten states accounting for $2.3 billion – roughly 59.4 percent of overall spending, according to an SSTI analysis of NSF data. From FY 2011 to FY 2015, total spending remained relatively unchanged (0.1 percent decrease). Over that same period, colleges and universities in 25 states reported increased expenditures from state governments, while 25 and the District of Columbia reported declines.

Several energy cluster states in recession

March 01, 2017

The perils of regional economies being too dependent on single industry clusters, particularly as it affects the financing of state governments, are playing out in the Great Plains. Kansas, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Wyoming have been or still are experiencing recessions, beginning as early as spring 2015 for two, according to a new analysis by Jason P. Brown for the Tenth Federal Reserve District.

$17M California makers initiative creating community college model

March 01, 2017

The nation’s largest system of higher education with over 2 million students is trying to connect community colleges to their regional economies through a three-year, $17-million-dollar investment to establish a statewide network of maker-focused colleges. The California Community College (CCC) Maker Initiative may provide a model for community colleges to infuse making, innovation, and entrepreneurship into students’ college experiences while helping them prepare for STEM/STEAM careers with the necessary skills for 21st Century jobs.

Legislative & Federal News for Feb 23

February 23, 2017

The Senate passed the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act, directing the National Science Foundation (NSF) to recruit women into entrepreneurial programs, and the INSPIRE Women Act, directing NASA to expand its outreach to women, on February 14. Both bills previously passed the House and now head to the White House for signature.

The Senate advanced Wilbur Ross’s nomination for Secretary of Commerce with a vote in favor of ending debate; the full vote on confirmation is expected for February 27.

Arkansas targets science, tech growth

February 23, 2017

Arkansas has new tools targeting growth in the state’s innovation and technology sector after Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed legislation creating a $2 million accelerator grant program for startups and establishing a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) matching funds program. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) Division of Science and Technology will administer the programs and seek corporate sponsors to provide matching funds to create accelerator events throughout the state.

Science advocates rally for support

February 23, 2017

Science and engineering advocates are increasingly finding ways to voice their dedication to ensuring that the fields remain open and free of politics. Hundreds of supporters gathered this past weekend at a Rally to Stand Up for Science in Copley Square in Boston, coinciding with the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

SSTI recommends strategies for NHLBI

February 23, 2017

SSTI submitted a letter to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in response to a request for information on the Institute’s investments in early translational research. The letter recommends partnerships and initiatives NHLBI could develop to improve identification of commercializable discoveries, strengthen business and technical development, and facilitate the scaling of innovations and spin-outs. These suggestions are grounded in examples of work by SSTI members. Read the full letter on ssti.org.

Nine states explore science policy fellowships

February 23, 2017

After training nearly 80 PhD scientists and engineers in the craft of policy making, the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) has awarded planning grants to nine other states to evaluate the potential to create a policy fellowship for scientists and engineers in their state capital. The new one-year grant, which is administered by CCST and funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Simons Foundation, will support teams in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Washington as they work on feasibility studies and other strategic steps toward creating science fellowships in their state policy arenas.

IP-intensive industries pay higher wages, support nearly 30 percent of all U.S. jobs, USPTO Finds

February 23, 2017

U.S. intellectual property (IP)-intensive industries employ at least 27.9 million workers and contributed more than $6.6 trillion dollars (38.2 percent) to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014, according to Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: 2016 Update. In this update to a 2012 report, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) identified 81 industries (from among 313 total) as IP-intensive including trademark-intensive, copyright-intensive, and patent-intensive industries.

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