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.


Universities launch incubators, accelerators and funds in 2019

Universities frequently play an integral role in providing activities, research, and products that positively affect or support local, regional, state and national economic development or strategic goals.  In higher-education’s efforts to align its participation in innovation and entrepreneurship systems, universities’ incubators, accelerators and fund programs are essential in assisting their faculty, staff, or students in the services and support needed to create startups, bring products to market, or provide critically needed funding.

Virginia tech talent initiative fueled by Amazon need

Students and tech employers stand to benefit from a new initiative in Virginia that grew out of the Commonwealth’s proposal to Amazon, which is building its second headquarters in Northern Virginia. Last week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia will invest in their tech talent pipeline to produce 31,000 new computer science graduates over 20 years.

SSTI receives recognition

SSTI received an Appreciation Award as part of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP) Awards of Excellence at their 2019 International Conference earlier this month. SSTI President &CEO Dan Berglund accepted the award and has led SSTI since its launch in 1996. The award recognized the organization for having “helped develop a nationwide network of practitioners and policymakers dedicated to improving the economy through science, technology and innovation.

State youth apprenticeship programs require better data collection practices

As employers continue to face a shortage in trained and skilled workers, federally registered apprenticeship programs (RAPs) continue to grow as a response. However, the ability to evaluate these programs depends on the quality of data collection and reporting practices. While there are variations in the federal data collection and reporting standards for adult RAPs, new and innovative programs such as state youth apprenticeship programs face a greater disparity in the quality of data management practices. A new report makes recommendations for state and local leaders on better approaches to evaluating the programs.

To encourage business R&D: grants or tax credits?

The importance of business and industry R&D investment for competitiveness and economic growth is a well-entrenched dictum of national and state innovation policy across most of the developed world. Approaches for incentivizing increased research expenditures fall into two broad categories, direct grants and subsidies to offset R&D costs or R&D tax credits companies may take post-investment for research expenditures.

States making headway in closing the rural-urban divide in access to high-speed broadband service

Access to reliable and fast internet service is a foundational element for the modern economy. Since the advent of broadband service its delivery has been highly divided between urban and rural areas. Many states are continuing to address this divide and took action in 2019. Several states repealed laws prohibiting local electric companies and co-ops from providing broadband services, other states initiated official planning efforts to expand internet services, and many approved and dispersed funding to develop broadband infrastructure in rural areas.

Useful Stats: Income inequality growing nationally and in all states, 2006-2018

From 2006 to 2018, income inequality has risen continuously both nationwide and in all states (but not in the District of Columbia). Annual changes vary widely for state income inequality, with some states experiencing increases year after year, and others displaying more volatile trends consisting of both sharp annual decreases and increases.

Election results could yield new state policies; TX doubles cancer R&D

Democrats made some gains in Virginia’s Legislature, and in Kentucky, the governor’s seat looks to be turning over to a Democrat, but the current Republican is requesting a recanvass in the close race. If those results hold, Democratic challenger and current Attorney General Andy Beshear will take the seat from incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin, ending the state’s Republican trifecta (where one party holds the governorship and both chambers of the legislature). Mississippi’s gubernatorial seat remained in Republican control, while the gubernatorial election in Louisiana takes place on Nov. 16, and the incumbent Democratic governor there is seeking another term. Following Tuesday’s elections, the divided government in Virginia turned into a Democratic trifecta in Virginia, as Republicans lost their hold in both the House and Senate. Those outcomes and results from several state legislative elections, along with the results of several innovation-related initiatives, are highlighted below.

U.S. small business exports is a $541 billion market — where does your state stand?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Google released a new analysis of export activity by U.S. small businesses. Results, based on surveys and Global Trade Analysis Project data, find $541 billion in national economic output, just 2.8 percent of the U.S. total.

Recent Research: Inventor concentration boosts productivity

Jennifer Roche prepared the following summary of a recent Enrico Moretti working paper for the November 2019 issue of the NBER Digest. The summary has been edited here for length and clarity; SSTI comments are in brackets.

Several states in play this election cycle for innovation initiatives, gubernatorial and legislative elections

As voters head to the polls next week, some will be deciding the fate of innovation and development-related initiatives, while voters in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi will be voting in gubernatorial elections. The initiatives include a possible additional $3 billion in Texas for cancer research. And in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia, legislative chambers are holding regular elections. Those races and initiatives are covered below.

Planning underway to increase energy technology development in rural areas

The U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have announced an agreement between them to promote rural energy and the development of technologies “that will support and advance rural and agricultural communities and domestic manufacturing.” The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was required under the 2018 Farm Bill, is expected to increase the economic development of rural areas through new energy technologies and investments.

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