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IA, ND, NY state budgets hit and miss on innovation funding

May 11, 2017

SSTI continues its reporting on actions taken by state legislatures to invest in economic growth through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. This week, we look at the budgets passed and signed by governors in Iowa, New York and North Dakota, finding mostly level and some increased funding for innovation programs in Iowa and New York – including free tuition at in-state colleges for qualifying residents – while North Dakota is looking at decreased funding for programs.


Iowa recently passed a budget for FY 2018. Within the Economic Development Authority, the High Quality Jobs Fund, which provides funding for innovation programs, maintained funding of $15.9 million. However, a decrease in the authority’s available reserves leaves the innovation funding expected to decrease by two-thirds to $5.5 million in FY 2018. Two new programs, STEM scholarships and a mentoring partnership, receive $1 million and $93,000 in new funding, respectively.

At the Board of Regents, the Agricultural Experiment Station ($29.9 million), Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing research and tech transfer facility ($724,000), University of Iowa’s research park ($209,000) and economic development activities ($2 million), Iowa State University’s economic development initiatives ($2.4 million), University of Northern Iowa’s (UNI) economic development initiatives ($1.1 million) and the Board’s tech innovation fund to support the transformation of university innovations into new products and companies ($3 million) all received level funding. The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, housed at UNI, received an increase of $200,000 to $5.4 million in FY 2018.

Funding levels for FY 2019 were also included in the state’s budget. Per Iowa’s process, only half of the funding is appropriated, with the remainder determined next year. While most programs are funded at 50 percent of the FY 2018 appropriation, the budget would create two new programs within the Department of Education: computer science professional development ($250,000) and STEM AP ($241,000).

New York

In April, after reaching an agreement with the state legislature, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the FY 2018 budget. The budget is highlighted by a record $7.5 billion in total support for higher education (6.3 percent increase over FY 2017) including $163 million in new funding to provide free tuition at state universities.

The capital budget includes nearly $2.6 billion for economic development activities. Several efforts funded in FY 2018 that are intended to grow the state’s innovation economy include (unless noted, efforts received similar funding to FY 2017 enacted):

  • $400 million for the  second phase of  the  Buffalo Regional Innovation  Cluster  Initiative;
  • $320 million for a state-wide life sciences cluster development initiative;
  • $207.5 million for the  SUNY  Polytechnic  Strategic   Projects Program;
  • $55 million for the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program – a program to intended to serve as a catalyst for regional economic development around the state by creating incentive for capital development on SUNY campuses and within surrounding communities;
  • $55 million for the NYCUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program to incentivize long-term economic development implementation plans, driven by CUNY’s campuses in areas of their academic strengths;
  • $33 million to the New York Power Electronics Manufacturing Consortium – a  public-private partnership with the intent of producing the next generation of power electronics at SUNY Polytechnic Institute's Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY Poly) 150 mm SiC fab;
  • $15 million for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA);
  • $13.8 million for the Centers for Advanced Technology – targeted R&D centers in 15 industries intended to encourage greater collaboration between private industry and the universities of the state in the development and application of new technologies;
  • $6 million for the High Technology Matching Grants Program, including the Security Through Advanced Research and Technology (START) Initiative, to strengthen nonprofit and institutions of higher education’s proposals for funding from federal agencies, foundations, and other grant-making organizations;
  • $5 million for the Clarkson-Trudeau  partnership to grow the biotech industry in the North Country region;
  • $5 million for the New York State Innovation Hot Spots Program as well as support for New York state incubators – a program that provides funding to select business incubators to expand services and reach a greater number of early stage companies;
  • $3 million to the SUNY Polytechnic Institute Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Focus Center and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Focus Center – these are public-private partnerships between industry and research institutions focused on addressing long-term challenges in the development of a specific technology;
  • $2.1 million for the development of emerging technology workforce training programs at community colleges;
  • $2 million for Technology Development Organization matching grants to support nonprofit organizations engaged in the promotion, attraction, stimulation, development and expansion of science and technology-oriented economic activity in a particular region of the state or in one or more counties or cities;
  • $1.47 million in state matching funds for the federal manufacturing extension partnership program;
  • $921,000 for the Industrial Technology Extension Service to provide direct assistance to small- and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises;
  • $1.3 million to the CUNY system for facility-related capital projects including a new science lab building at Hunter College, a new science facility at Lehman College, and a center for computational science at College of Staten Island;
  • $343,000 for the science and technology law center program;
  • $300,000 for the Bronx Community College STEM Resource Center; and,
  • $250,000 for the Stony Brook University Semiconductor High-Energy Radiation project.

The state also will commit over $8.7 million to support centers of excellence across the state including:

  • $872,333 for the Buffalo Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences;
  • $872,333 for the Greater Rochester Center of Excellence in Photonics and Microsystems;
  • $872,333 for the Syracuse Center Of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems;
  • $872,333 for the Albany Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics;
  • $872,333 for the Stony Brook Center of Excellence in Wireless Information Technology
  • $872,333 for the Binghamton Center of Excellence in Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging;
  • $872,333 for the Stony Brook Center of Excellence in Advanced Energy Research;
  • $872,333 for the Buffalo Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics;
  • $872,333 for the Rochester Center of Excellence in Sustainable Manufacturing; and,
  • $872,333 for the Rochester Center of Excellence in Data Science.

An additional $2 million will be made available to support an additional 12 centers of excellence including $500,000 for the New York Medical College to create and operate a Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disaster.

North Dakota

Appropriations bills approved by the North Dakota legislature and signed by Gov. Doug Burgum include:

  • $2.3 million for entrepreneurship grants at the Department of Commerce, a 2.5 percent decrease;
  • $2 million ($2.62 million in the previous biennium) from the state’s Strategic Investment and Improvements Fund for Unmanned Aerial Systems programming within the Department of Commerce, a 23.6 percent decrease;
  • After receiving $12 million in FY2013-2015 and $4.4 million in FY 2015-2017, the technology commercialization program, Research ND, within the Department of Commerce would receive no funding in the budget.


Iowa, New York, North Dakotastate budgets