SSTI Digest

Geography: Georgia

Tech Talkin' Govs, Part II

The second installment of the Tech Talkin' Govs series includes highlights from state of the state, budget and inaugural addresses delivered by the governors of Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oregon and Vermont. 

TIP-MEP Host Regional Meeting on Dec 9 in Atlanta

On December 9, two NIST programs will be hosting a meeting to explain how businesses can better take advantage of them. Officials from the Technology Innovation Program (TIP) and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) will provide an overview and discuss future directions for the programs. SSTI is co-hosting the meeting because we see it as an excellent opportunity for TBED organizations and their clients to learn more about and provide input on programs that could see dramatic increases in funding in an Obama administration.

SSTI Job Corner

Complete descriptions of these opportunities and others are available at

SSTI Exclusive: Podcast Featuring 2007 Excellence in TBED Award Winner Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholars® Program

SSTI has an effective new learning tool for TBED policymakers and practitioners seeking guidance in approaches to building and sustaining tech-based economies. Through exclusive interviews with Excellence in TBED Award recipients, find out first-hand how these award winning initiatives successfully responded to a critical need by applying innovative approaches to generate substantial economic gains for their region.

TBED People

People & TBED Organizations

Steve Bazinet has been hired as executive director of the Maine Center for Enterprise Development.

People & TBED Organizations

President Bush announced he will nominate Assistant Secretary of Commerce Sandy Baruah to serve as the administrator of the Small Business Administration.

Recent Research: Do State Merit-Based Scholarship Initiatives Decrease Enrollment in the STEM Fields?

Since the inception of the HOPE scholarship program in Georgia 15 years ago, the number of state-sponsored merit-based scholarship initiatives to increase the number of students attending in-state colleges and universities has increased throughout the country. One such statewide initiative, Florida’s Bright Futures Program, was established in 1997 and has since become the second largest merit-based scholarship program in the U.S. At the recent annual forum of the Association of Institutional Research held in Seattle, Dr. Shouping Hu of Florida State University presented a paper examining the possible unintended consequences for student bachelor degree enrollment in the STEM fields before and after the implementation of Florida’s program.
The research finds in the two years before Bright Futures was introduced, enrollment in the STEM degree programs was at 48.0 percent of total baccalaureate enrollment in 1995 and 47 percent in 1996. In the two years after the program was started, STEM enrollment dropped to 39.2 percent in 1998, then to 37.7 percent in 1999. This represents a nine percentage point decline when comparing the two-year intervals, even though the total number of students in the STEM fields were “essentially stable” over the entire period.
Additionally, students receiving Bright Futures scholarships from the state were more likely to be enrolled in a STEM degree field than non-recipients, especially for the students that were provided the highest level of the Bright Futures Scholarships, according to the paper. For example, in 1999, the research found 45 percent of Bright Futures’ full-tuition scholarship recipients were enrolled in the STEM fields, compared to 34.2 percent STEM enrollment for partial-tuition scholarships and 29.3 percent STEM enrollment for students who did not receive any scholarship. When controlled for factors such as gender, race and participation in free and reduced lunch programs, this pattern of STEM enrollment between scholarship recipients continued.
Even though this research found participants in Bright Futures were more likely to choose STEM degrees than non-recipients, there was a “substantial and significant” decline in the overall STEM enrollment rates before and after Florida began the scholarship initiative. Hu contends one plausible explanation for the decrease in STEM enrollment rates is the need for students to maintain or ameliorate their class grades in order to continue receiving funds or to increase their eligibility for a larger award. Fields perceived to be more difficult to attain higher grades may be avoided.
The paper, Merit-Based Financial Aid and Student Enrollment in Baccalaureate Degree Programs in Science and Engineering: What Can Florida’s Bright Futures Program Tell Us?, is not yet available online, but the author can be contacted via: shu (at)

Research Initiatives Slated for Funding in Approved State Budgets

Lawmakers in Georgia and Maryland approved action earlier this month on several TBED-related measures for the upcoming fiscal year. Highlights of the approved budgets are outlined below.
Lawmakers committed $2.5 million, half of Gov. Sonny Perdue’s recommendation, to create the Georgia Research Alliance venture capital initiative to speed commercialization of university derived technologies to the marketplace. Earlier this year, Gov. Perdue asked legislators to provide $5 million to the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) in FY09 that would be matched with $5 million in existing funds and pooled with $30 million in private funds (see the Jan. 30, 2008 issue of the Digest).
Lawmakers reduced by half funding for the Georgia Youth Science and Technology program, which aims to increase interest and enthusiasm in science and technology among elementary and middle school teachers and students. The program is slated to receive $250,000 in FY09.
The FY 2009 approved budget is available at:
The state will provide ongoing support of $19 million for stem cell research grants in the upcoming fiscal year – an issue that divided the two legislative chambers throughout the 2008 session. Gov. Martin O’Malley recommended $23 million for the Stem Cell Research Fund earlier this year (see the Jan. 23, 2008 issue of the Digest). Lawmakers reached a compromise toward the session’s end, providing $19 million with the possibility of an additional $1 million from tax collections, if it becomes available.
Lawmakers fully funded Gov. O’Malley’s request to provide $6 million for tax credits to encourage investment in biotechnology firms and $2.4 million for the Nanotech Biotechnology Initiative Fund within the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED).
The Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority Fund business assistance funding, includes $3 million for operating and capital grants for the development of nanobiotechnology research under a competitive process to be developed in consultation with TEDCO, according to budget documents.
Lawmakers removed a $2 million appropriation for the Rural Broadband Assistance Fund within the Division of Financing and instead requested a report from DBED to the budget committees on the rural broadband project, including the status of all project phases, the use of state funds received, potential sources of private funding, and estimates for project completion. The budget committees will have 45 days to review the report and consider the $2 million transfer to the Rural Broadband Assistance Fund from the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority Fund.
The FY09 budget maintains for a third consecutive year a tuition freeze for in-state undergraduates at public universities and increases community college funding by 9 percent or $21.2 million. Additional higher education initiatives slated for funding include $15.5 million to address workforce shortage areas and research needs, $3 million for Defense Base Closure and Realignment-related workforce programs (the same level recommended by the governor), and $1.7 million for Regional Higher Education Centers. The Maryland Industrial Partnerships program is slated to receive $1 million within the Educational Grants appropriation under the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
The FY 2009 operating budget (SB 90) is available at:

Dual Reports Show Perceptions, Benefits to Higher Education in Georgia

An overwhelming majority of residents in Georgia see higher education as vital to the state’s economic growth and quality of life, as more educational attainment is aligned with higher incomes, higher levels of entrepreneurship and less government spending. These conclusions are proclaimed in two reports – one poll-based and the other created from econometric data – by the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE) titled Georgians’ Perceptions of Higher Education and What Does Georgia Gain by Investing in Its Colleges and Universities? For example, 75 percent of Georgians believe higher education is “very important” for the state’s economic growth, compared to 21 percent stating it is “somewhat important” and 3 percent deeming it “not important”.
Like a stepladder, Georgians’ per capita income gradually increases with education attainment, ranging from $18,410 on average for those without a high school degree to $78,440 for those with a master’s degree or higher. An inverse effect can be seen for unemployment, as 8.5 percent of those without a high school degree are unemployed in the state, compared to 1.2 percent with a master’s or above. According to the report, educated residents provide the “heart of funding” for Georgia’s operations and programs. Whereas less than high school-educated households contribute $2,780 on average in state and local taxes, households with a master’s degree or higher pay $6,950 in taxes. Alternatively, 76 percent of state spending on direct public assistance in the state is allocated to Georgians with a high school diploma or less.
The data presented also show parents with more education have children with less disciplinary problems in school and achieve greater academic success themselves. Suspension and expulsion rates of the children of parents with less than a high school degree were 18.7 percent, gradually decreasing into the single digits if the parents had a bachelor’s or above. The SAT scores of children showed on average 200-point disparities between the offspring of highly educated parents and parents who did not graduate from high school.
The report also provides a glimpse into the backgrounds of those with entrepreneurial experience in Georgia. Whereas 1.5 percent of adults without a high school degree incorporated a business, those attaining a bachelor’s degree or at least a master’s degree did start a new business at 4.4 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively.
So what strategies should Georgia use to push education in a state where 146 of its 159 counties have bachelor’s degree attainment levels lower than the national percentage? According to the poll provided, 55 percent of Georgians believe a higher quality education is more important than providing statewide access to college. Comparatively, 34 percent of state residents believe providing access to all Georgians wanting four-year degrees is more important, even it means lowering the quality of education the state provides.
What Does Georgia Gain by Investing in Its Colleges and Universities? is available at:
Georgians’ Perceptions of Higher Education can be found through ARCHE at:

Georgia Research Alliance Seeks $40M Dedicated VC Fund

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue this month proposed a new $40 million Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) Venture Capital Fund to be fueled by $10 million from the state legislature and subsequently matched with $30 million from the private sector. Of the entire suite of GRA initiatives, this will be the first program not funded entirely by the state of Georgia.


The Venture Capital Fund will invest only in early-stage companies associated with GRA’s VentureLab program. The VentureLab program provides technology assessment, commercialization instruction and seed grants to marketable research developed at GRA’s partner universities. These partner universities are the University of Georgia, Medical College of Georgia, Emory University, Clark Atlanta University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Georgia State University.


One of the Venture Capital Fund’s goals is to provide the funding that will allow new companies to stay in the state without moving outside of Georgia to access capital. The fund’s primary targets for investment will be concentrated on technology in the life sciences, especially vaccines and anti-viral therapies.


To see the press release of the announcement, visit:

Tech Talkin’ Govs, Part IV

The fourth installment of the Tech Talkin’ Govs series includes excerpts from governors’ speeches delivered in Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.


Georgia –
see article in this issue of the Digest.



Gov. Steve Beshear, State Budget Address, Jan. 29, 2008

“I recommend a $60 million bond authorization for a new round of ‘Bucks for Brains.’ … This program has attracted and retained some of the brightest faculty and research teams in the nation. In times like these, we simply must invest in the future. …


“… It is time to revitalize our economic development efforts, and as chair of the Economic Development Partnership Board, I will work with the Secretary of that cabinet to review and revise our strategy, giving it a new focus on the entire state and on twenty-first century jobs.”



Gov. Deval Patrick, State of the Commonwealth Address, Jan. 24, 2008

“On the jobs front, let’s both advance human healing and add another 250,000 jobs over the next decade by passing the Life Sciences Bill next month.


“Let’s start promoting efficiency, renewables, cheaper electricity, and new jobs in a hot new growth sector by passing the Energy Bill.


“Let’s connect the whole state to the world of ideas and commerce, and jumpstart the economies in western and central Massachusetts, by passing the Broadband Bill.”



Gov. Jennifer Granholm, State of the State Address, Jan. 29, 2008

“And tonight, I'm announcing two major initiatives to grow new jobs in Michigan. ... First: the Michigan Job Creation Tax Credit - a one time offer for businesses in the 50 fastest-growing industries in the country. Whether your business is in Michigan today or you'll come here tomorrow, if you grow jobs in Michigan, we'll cut or altogether eliminate your taxes. Along with new Michigan Business Tax, this is the first time in Michigan history where businesses will be broadly rewarded for hiring people.


“Second: I will create the Michigan Invests! Fund - a fund that will put Michigan money to work building Michigan's economic future. Young companies that want to grow in Michigan are instead being uprooted by their investors who live in California or New York. Invest Michigan! will give high-growth companies the investment capital they need if they grow right here.


“The Michigan pension fund and other major Michigan funds will combine to amass a pool of at least $300 million to create this win-win: pensioners and investors will get a good return on these sound investments. Michigan gets cutting-edge businesses and jobs. Michigan will now be in the top three states in the nation for making investment capital available to successful entrepreneurs who create jobs here. …


“… But let me talk for a moment about one sector that has blockbuster potential for Michigan: alternative energy. … Because of the need to reduce global warming and end our dependence on expensive foreign oil, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries will create millions of good paying jobs.

“There's no question that these jobs are coming to our nation. The only question is, where?


“I say we will win these jobs for Michigan and replace the lost manufacturing jobs with a whole new, growing sector. … Alternative energy companies have watched closely as 25 other states have set aggressive goals for their alternative energy use. We have to meet and beat other states' goals here in Michigan if we are going to attract those companies here. That's why I am asking the Legislature to set ambitious alternative energy goals for Michigan - produce 10 percent of our electrical energy from renewable sources by the year 2015 and a full 25 percent by the year 2025. …


“… Tonight, I'm announcing that our state's largest utilities are poised to make one of the world's largest investments in alternative energy and energy efficiency, creating upwards of 17,000 jobs in Michigan.


“As soon as this Legislature acts on a comprehensive energy package, Consumers Energy and DTE will begin to jointly invest up to $6 billion in Michigan - much of it to build wind turbines and wind farms to produce electricity and to help businesses and homeowners install energy saving technologies. Six billion. 17,000 jobs. …


“… A renewable energy goal is a powerful tool to attract alternative energy jobs, but there are other tools, too. We are going to create Centers of Excellence across the state to bring alternative energy companies and Michigan universities together to create new products and new jobs. I'm also asking you to pass tax incentives for anchor companies in the alternative energy sector that get their suppliers to also locate in Michigan.


“And to make sure that ethanol is made here and sold here and is competitive with gasoline, I'm asking you once again to eliminate the gas tax for fuel purchases of ethanol and biodiesel at gas stations.


“… In the past year, we created six early college high schools, which each partner with a major hospital in our state and a college or university. …We have six of these schools in Michigan today - with our 21st Century Schools Fund, we could create 100 more tomorrow. …


“… Unfortunately, far too many of our students enter college but don't graduate. The higher education budget I propose will take aim at that problem by rewarding colleges and universities when their students complete degrees. We'll also reward them when … they find ways to turn research ideas into businesses.


Tennessee – see article in this issue of the Digest.



Gov. Jim Doyle, State of the State Address, Jan. 23, 2008

“Tonight I am proud to report that even during these uncertain times, the State of Wisconsin is primed to meet the challenges ahead. We are ready to Grow Wisconsin. … To get there, I present to you tonight the next step in my Grow Wisconsin strategy…


 “… We can create an economy built around innovation if we work … to encourage business to center their research and development operations in Wisconsin. When a business increases its research and development by 25 percent, let’s reward them dollar for dollar for what they invest beyond that. …


 “… Tonight we’ll launch an aggressive new strategy to reduce the pollution that causes global warming and grow Wisconsin’s economy – the Wisconsin Energy Independence Fund – a major new investment to make Wisconsin a world leader in renewable energy and homegrown power. Over the next 10 years Wisconsin will invest $150 million to help our businesses, our farmers, our foresters, and our manufacturers produce and promote renewable energy.


“Our strong manufacturing base and rich agricultural industries, along with the wealth of resources in our vast northern forests and world-leading research universities, position Wisconsin to become the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy. …


“Tonight we’ll launch a new campaign to increase the availability of renewable fuel by one billion gallons. First we’ll provide new tax credits for biodiesel fuel producers and add 400 new renewable fuel pumps to our roads. Second let’s pass a renewable fuel standard … to require oil companies to provide renewable fuel for our consumers. …


“… To make sure we have more kids ready to compete in the world, I urge you to pass legislation to make a third year of math and a third year of science mandatory for high school graduation.”