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.

Geography: California

Legislative Wrap-Up: States Dedicate Funds to Address Skills Mismatch

For several states, this year's legislative session resulted in continued austerity toward new investments and level funding for established tech-based initiatives producing good results. Workforce initiatives seemed to be the exception, garnering greater attention from state leaders eager to boost employment numbers — especially in high-tech fields. While the existence of a STEM worker shortage has been a hotly debated topic among policy groups (see the May 22, 2013 issue of the Digest), some state leaders, including lawmakers in California, Indiana and Michigan, have prioritized high-tech job training to produce more skilled workers through increased funding for new or established programs in the recently enacted budgets.

States Position Themselves to Compete in Domestic Drone Industry

While public debate rages over the role of surveillance in our society, one particularly infamous government surveillance technology, drones, is being prepared for private sector deployment in the U.S. Drone-related technologies are predicted to revolutionize commerce in the U.S., with industry projections valuing their initial deployment as an $82 billion boost to the national economy. In preparation for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rollout of drone-use regulations in 2015, entrepreneurs, multinational corporations and state governments are scrambling to be in a competitive position to benefit.

Share of U.S. Venture Capital Dollars, Deals by State, 2007-2012

After dipping just under 50 percent in 2011, California reclaimed its spot as the site of a majority of U.S. venture capital investment last year, according to the National Venture Capital Association/PricewaterhouseCoopers Moneytree Survey. About 53 percent of all U.S. venture capital dollars were invested in California companies in 2012, the largest share captured by the state since the annual survey began in 1995. The total share of all venture dollars invested in the top five states also reached an all-time high last year, with California, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Washington capturing 78.5 percent of all U.S. investment.

TBED People and Orgs

Leslie Guice officially was approved by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors to become the 14th president of Louisiana Tech University. Guice will take office July 1, 2013.

To Spur Regional Economic Growth, Community Colleges Look Beyond National Graduation Goals

In July 2009, President Obama challenged community colleges to graduate an additional five million students by 2020. According to the president's speech, community colleges uniquely are positioned to fuel the future of U.S. competiveness by developing an educated, skilled workforce to address the needs of a 21st century workplace. However, community colleges across the country are going beyond the president's challenge and establishing new initiatives to help support regional innovation ecosystems focused on encouraging entrepreneurship and nurturing tech-based startups.

Review Calls for External Scientific Oversight for CA Stem Cell Research

In a new report, the National Academies' Institute of Medicine (IOM) praises the remarkable research output of California's Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) during its first seven years, but recommends several changes in oversight that could improve the quality and defensibility of its work. IOM suggests that external scientific reviews and independent oversight of the institute's management could help ameliorate concerns about conflicts of interest and increase transparency.

Voters Reject Tax Increases, Back Bonds for Higher Ed

While election night's main focus was on the presidential race, the importance of ballot measures for states and metros is growing as public services and budgets are being severely trimmed. A recent article in The New Republic reports on a new trend where states are embracing ballot measures as a potential source of dedicated funds for targeted investments in regional economic growth and development.

$20M Awarded to 10 Public-Private Regional Partnerships Geared towards Advanced Manufacturing Initiatives

The Obama administration announced winners of the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge on Tuesday. The challenge — publicized earlier this year — is one of the key initiatives of the interagency Taskforce for the Advancement of Regional Innovation Clusters and is sponsored by a partnership between the U.S. Department of Commerce, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Departments of Energy and Labor, and the Small Business Administration. Winners include programs in AZ, CA, MI, OK, TN, NY, PA, and a WA and OR bi-state partnership, each receiving approximately $2 million in grants. See the complete list of challenge winners and their reward amounts here. This is the third in a series of multiagency Jobs and Innovation Accelerator challenges administered since 2011. Learn more...

TBED and the 2012 Ballots

Voters in 37 states will decide on more than 170 ballot measures this year, many of which are related to tech-based economic development (TBED). Tax measures seem to be dominating ballots this year, with questions relating to both decreases and increases for sales, property and income taxes. Several states are counting on voters to agree to temporary increases to help fill budget deficits and ensure steady funding for education.

CA Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research Losing by Slim Margin

Although official results may not be declared until July, a statewide ballot measure that would raise taxes on tobacco products to fund cancer research was losing by a vote of 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent, according to unofficial results reported Wednesday from the California secretary of state.

TBED People & Orgs

Richard Bendis has been named the first president and CEO of BioHealth Innovation, Inc. a regional private-public partnership focusing on commercializing market-relevant biohealth innovations and increasing access to early stage funding in Central Maryland.

Incubator RoundUp

Finding new and creative ways for high-tech companies to succeed is an important component in business incubation. A recent study examining best practices for supporting new company formation finds it is the synergy among multiple practices, policies and services that produces optimal outcomes. At the same time, collecting standardized measures, reporting on progress annually, conducting external independent evaluations, tracking programs, and continuing to enhance practices are singled out as important policy implications. Over the past few months, several new incubator models have emerged — including a concept for a hybrid-accelerator and a startup incubator that floats. Select announcements are included below.