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    SSTI and conference host Rhode Island Commerce Corporation invite you to join your peers for conversations around emerging challenges and opportunities related to science, tech, innovation & entrepreneurship.

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Universities search for new funding to make up for decreasing state aid; long-term impacts unknown

The state of Alaska is in the midst of a funding crisis that could devastate the viability of the University of Alaska, and recent research from a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper shows that the loss of funding could have long-term impacts for the system. While highly ranked research universities have been able to adapt to declining subsidies by raising tuition, attracting out-of-state and international students, and sometimes raising funding from philanthropic sources, public universities outside of this top tier have not been able to replace lost dollars, say the paper’s authors.

Useful Stats: NIH Awards by State, 2009-2018

As the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world, NIH awards are of particular importance to the technology-based economic development community. Including new data for FY 2017 and FY 2018, this edition of Useful Stats serves as an update to an August 2017 article highlighting NIH awards by state over the past decade. In FY 2018, NIH awarded a total of $28.3 billion in funds to the 50 states and territories. Of the total amount awarded in 2018, slightly less than two thirds (65.3 percent) went to the top 10 states. This share is slightly lower than in 2017 (65.6 percent), the same as in 2014 (65.3 percent) and slightly higher than in 2009 (66.1 percent).

Opportunity Zones: A potential boost or bust for inner-city economic development?

Ensuring the success of the 8,700 Opportunity Zones created in low-income, communities across the country will take “intentional, collective action from everyone involved,” according to the President’s Council on Impact Investing, a philanthropic leadership group that is part of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance. Without a coordinated effort that includes policymakers, investors, fund managers and philanthropists, Council members are concerned the residents of the Opportunity Zones won’t have a voice, could be displaced if their neighborhoods become gentrified and “are at risk of losing out and falling further behind, while Zones in already-gentrifying parts of urban areas like New York City or Washington, D.C., continue to draw the lion's share of development capital,” according to a press release the group issued.

New manufacturing initiative needed to reclaim American leadership

Sending a cautionary note and calling for a new initiative, a new report from MForesight takes a look at the challenges facing America’s leadership in advanced manufacturing. The short-term strategy of “invent here, make there,” has led to the erosion of domestic capabilities and has now become “invent there, manufacture there,” say the authors. They believe that reclaiming the country’s leadership in advanced manufacturing will be a complex and long-term undertaking — one that calls for a long-term government National Manufacturing Initiative.

DOE announces $24 million in funding for 75+ technology commercialization projects

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced more than $24 million in funding for 77 projects through its Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF), which will be matched by funds from the private sector. Established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 as a way to encourage energy innovation, each of the recently awarded TCF projects supports private sector efforts to commercialize technologies developed at DOE laboratories.

NIST releases draft plan for federal engagement in AI, seeks comments

In response to a February Executive Order directing federal agencies to take steps to ensure the U.S. is a world-leader in artificial intelligence, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a new draft plan on the need for AI standards. The draft document, U.S. Leadership in AI: Plan for Federal Engagement in Developing Technical Standards and Related Tools, recommends four broad actions: bolster AI standards-related knowledge, leadership and coordination among federal agencies; promote focused research on the “trustworthiness” of AI; support and expand public-private partnerships; and engage with international parties.

NJ governor signs bills to expand angel investment tax credits, fund TBED

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed multiple bills late last month that may help position the state as a leader in technology-based economic development. One bill increases the tax credit for angel investors in qualified technology companies, with even larger credits available for investments in women- and minority-owned businesses and those located in low-income areas. Meanwhile, the state’s approved FY 2020 budget includes $1.0 million for the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation, and Technology. After nearly a decade of receiving no funding from the state, this marks the second consecutive year that the commission will receive $1.0 million to support technology-based economic development.