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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.


Shocks to manufacturing intensify inequality in US workforce

Last fall, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) issued its report on the distributional effects of trade and trade policy on under-represented and under-served communities. The report, which had been requested in 2021 by the U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai, found a disparity in wage and employment among manufacturing workers by race and gender resulting from changes in trade policy. Distributional Effects of Trade and Trade Policy on U.S. Workers, released in October of 2022, was compiled from a series of roundtable discussions between March 1 and April 1, 2022, an academic symposium on April 5-6, 2022, and a public hearing on April 19, 2022. Tai had called for the investigation to better identify and measure the potential distributional effects of U.S. trade and trade policy on U.S. workers, by skill, wage and salary level, gender, race/ethnicity, age, and income level, especially as they affect under-represented and under-served communities.

SSTI members host regional entrepreneurship policy meetings

Five SSTI member organizations — Conductor, Nebraska Business Development Center, University of Louisville, University of South Alabama, and Verge — were awarded micro grants by SSTI to host policy meetings with state and local officials in their regions about the needs of innovation-driven entrepreneurs. The awards were made possible thanks to a project with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In total, the seven meetings held by these groups connected dozens of entrepreneurs and support organizations with federal, state and local elected officials, program administrators and staff.

Microbusinesses performed $5.6 billion of US R&D in 2020

Microbusinesses (businesses with 1-9 domestic employees) spent $7.5 billion in both domestic and foreign R&D expenditures or costs in 2020, of which $6.7 billion was in the U.S. Of this total, $5.6 billion was performed by microbusinesses themselves, according to the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) and data from the Annual Business Survey (ABS). The $5.6 billion performed by U.S. microbusinesses in 2020 shows over a $1 billion increase in domestic R&D performed by microbusinesses themselves as compared to 2018.

Breakdown of federally financed higher-ed R&D for FY 2021

A previous Digest article gave a broad overview of the most recent survey of Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) for FY 2021 (the most recent data available), including a breakdown of what field of studies receive the most R&D funding. The survey showed that the federal government funds the bulk of higher-ed R&D, and looking at each of its agencies can shed light on investment priorities. Within the federal government, Health and Human Services (HHS) funded the most higher-ed R&D activities by far (approximately $27.5 billion), followed by the Department of Defense (DoD; $7.4 billion) and National Science Foundation (NSF; $5.4 billion). A bulk of HHS funding went toward the life sciences ($24.2 billion), with engineering following behind at approximately $1 billion. DoD primarily funded engineering ($3.7 billion), followed by life sciences ($1.4 billion).

Despite declining deal counts in Q4, 2022 was a strong year for VC

Total deal counts across angel, seed and VC deals for Q4 2022 were the lowest of the year at 2,935 deals, a decrease of 670 deals as compared to Q3 2022, according to Q4 data from PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor Q4 2022. Despite low deal counts for Q4, 2022 is still on track to come in close behind 2021, which marked the highest deal count since the data began being collected in 2012. A strong total deal count alongside a high deal value reflects a successful year for venture capital, even amid economic strain caused by high interest rates, the Russian-Ukrainian war, and lingering COVID-19 impacts. 

New census tract data affects CDFI certification, SSBCI eligibility and more

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund released a file and map summarizing core economic data for each census tract. Policymakers and practitioners should be aware of these changes for both what the data reveal about local economic trends and the impact the changes could have on future program eligibility. Importantly, tract-level economic distress is integral to CDFI certification and business eligibility for portions of Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), as well as being a common reference for federal programs that prioritize distressed regions. The new data makes numerous changes from the 2018 update, including nearly 23,000 new census tract IDs and more than 11,000 tracts with a different economic distress status.

State Department creates new office to address rising innovations in technology

The U.S. Department of State established a new office intended to develop and coordinate critical and emerging technology foreign policy, including biotechnology, advanced computing, artificial intelligence, and quantum information technologies.  The Office of the Special Envoy for Critical and Emerging Technology began operations Jan. 3. The office will offer policy expertise in technology, diplomatic leadership, and strategic direction for the department.

Useful Stats: 1 and 3-year analysis of county-level US RGDP per capita

This edition of Useful Stats takes a high-level look at the United States’ change in Real Gross Domestic Product (RGDP, which is GDP adjusted for inflation) on a per capita basis for each of its counties, boroughs, parishes, etc. (hereon referred to as “counties”). Looking at RGDP per capita allows for an inflation adjusted, population standardized metric for comparing counties over time.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2023: Governors’ innovation vision from their annual addresses

After a busy election season that saw gubernatorial elections in 36 states, newly elected and re-elected governors are beginning to deliver their annual State of the State addresses, kicking off new programs and reviewing the conditions of their states. SSTI reviews the speeches every year and covers news of new developments and initiatives the governors have highlighted as they relate to the innovation economy. New programs are laid out here in the governors own words as excerpts from their addresses. In these first addresses, there is heavy emphasis on workforce and education among all governors; water issues for Western governors; and, clean energy. Scroll through the story to find updates as more addresses are delivered.

Tackling the skills gap: Identifying in-demand and emerging technology skills

A recent State of Skills report by the Burning Glass Institute, the Business-Higher Education Forum, and Wiley identifies four emerging technical skill sets as the fastest growing in the country: artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), cloud computing, product management, and social media. The authors use these four skill sets to illustrate how businesses, education providers, and learners can best prepare for a changing and increasingly technology-driven labor market. 

SSTI has grown! Meet our new staff

SSTI is excited to announce staffing changes that are helping us build on our mission to strengthen initiatives to create a better future through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. Over the past few months, SSTI has added five new staff members — Casey Nemecek, Jerry Coughter, Jonathan Dillon, Lisa Clayton and Sobia Saied — strengthened our student interns/assistants program, and promoted Mark Skinner to executive vice president and Jason Rittenberg to vice president.

Survey finds that compensation in venture capital varies based on level and gender

In larger VC firms with more assets under management (AUM), women at all levels received pay in line with what men received, with the median total cash for female general partners above that of the men. However, women at smaller AUM firms received significantly less total cash compensation than men, particularly at the managing general partner level, according to a survey on professional compensation in venture capital firms conducted by First Republic Bank recently and J. Thelander Consulting, Inc.  

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