SSTI Digest

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Geography: Georgia

TBED Ballot Issues, Bond Proposals Fare Well in Midterm Elections

In case you missed it, the midterm elections were on Tuesday, resulting in Republicans taking control of Congress, several new governors, and five states endorsing minimum wage increases.

Ballot Preview: Voters to Decide on Taxes, GMOs, Higher Ed

On November 4, 42 states will vote on 146 ballot issues across a wide array of issues. In addition to initiatives on gun control, bear baiting, and the minimum wage, several initiatives relevant to the TBED community are also up for decision. SSTI has gathered information on many of these and will discuss their results after next week’s elections.

Lab Space, Commercialization Support Backed by State Governments

State legislators in many parts of the country took action this year to fund the construction of research infrastructure and provide financial support for commercialization. In Kansas, New York, Georgia, Maine and Wyoming, legislators funded the construction of laboratories and other innovative spaces at public universities to boost the high-tech economy. In Colorado, Maryland and a number of universities, new initiatives were rolled out to support public-private research collaborations and the commercialization of cutting-edge technology.

Study Examines the Impact of Policy Dynamics on University Innovation in Three Southern States

In a recent comparative study of state S&T policy dynamics in Georgia, Missouri and Texas, authors Jarrett Warshaw and James Hearn examine the nature of state efforts intended to bring together government, universities and industry to support innovation at publically funded universities and spur economic development.

Georgia, Kansas Budgets Fund Innovation Infrastructure

State leaders often cite publicly supported innovation infrastructure as investments in jobs of the future. When targeted and executed smartly, such investments can spur job growth over the long-term and help advance technology commercialization. Lawmakers in Georgia and Kansas recently passed budgets that include funding to support high-tech research facilities and similar measures are pending in several other states. The University of Georgia (UGA) is slated to receive nearly $45 million for a Science Learning Center and, in Kansas, the legislature approved $2 million for creation of a new Innovation Campus aimed at attracting technology jobs.

Federal, State Workforce Initiatives Emphasize Higher Ed, Employer Involvement

Aligning industry needs with workforce training has gained renewed focus in states and emerged as a national priority. This week, President Obama announced two grant programs totaling $600 million in existing funds that challenge academic institutions and businesses to design job training for the globalized economy and set industry-recognized standards. States are increasingly partnering with community colleges and industry to fill in-demand jobs, and with tight budgets, new efforts in Georgia and North Carolina also aim to enhance worker training by reallocating existing resources or restructuring programs.

States Pass Innovation-Focused Legislation

Investments and policy to support innovation-focused agendas have flourished with the close of the 2014 legislative sessions in several states. Crowdfunding legislation, incentives for attracting talent, higher education affordability, punishing patent trolls, and encouraging greater accountability are some of the areas where lawmakers focused their efforts.

NIST MEP Awards MTAC pilots in CA, GA, OR, TX, WI

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program recently awarded $2.5 million for five pilot projects to improve small U.S. manufacturers' supply chain competitiveness and foster their readiness to adopt advanced technologies. The projects will be led by MEP centers and bring together teams of experts in specific technology areas. MEP centers in California, Georgia, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin each will receive approximately $500,000 for the pilot efforts, which, in most cases, involve partners in other states.

Governors Prioritize Funding Toward High-Tech Facilities

Having world-class facilities to train workers or support research in fields most likely to benefit the state is a draw for many reasons. Attracting outside investment, retaining talent and generating buzz are just a few of the benefits. Last year, Connecticut lawmakers dedicated more than $2 billion to expand science and technology education on the campuses of the University of Connecticut, including construction of new STEM facilities and for building research and teaching labs. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is the latest state leader to announce funding proposals aimed at either constructing new facilities or making capital improvements for training students in high-wage, high-demand fields. Similar announcements were made earlier this year in Florida, Georgia, Rhode Island and Wyoming.

People on the Move & TBED Organization Updates

Robbie Melton has been named the executive director and CEO of the High Technology Development Corporation.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has appointed Louisiana Tech University president Les Guice to chair the Louisiana Innovation Council.

Budget Round Up: States Address Higher Ed Affordability, Research Capacity, Workforce

Several common themes surrounding higher education have emerged as governors across the country unveil investment priorities for the upcoming fiscal year or biennium. In many states, governors have proposed more funding to increase affordability by freezing tuition or creating new scholarship funds. Support for expanding research capacity, technology-related infrastructure and job training in high-demand industries are some of the proposed measures aimed at competitiveness.

Tech Talkin’ Govs: Part II

The second installment of SSTI’s Tech Talkin’ Govs series includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Virginia.