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: Massachusetts

Freestanding Entrepreneurship Schools, Creative Courses Illustrate Evolving Role of Universities

Recent research on the evolving role of universities finds the emergence of an entrepreneurial society has contributed to a broader and more fundamental role for universities — that is to provide thinking, leadership and activity to enhance entrepreneurship capital. University-based entrepreneurship programs and initiatives seem to have gained steam following the recession with federal support for programs to enhance entrepreneurial efforts in states and regions and increased interest from students and out-of-work individuals.

Massachussetts Leads, Delaware Gains in 2012 ITIF Index

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) released the sixth edition of its bi-annual State New Economy Index last month. The report uses 26 indicators to assess the progress states have made adjusting to the realities of the innovation economy. Massachusetts lead in the rankings, as it has since the lauch of the index, while Delaware rose four ranks since 2010 to occupy second place. Read The 2012 State New Economy Index...

Looming Revenue Shortfalls Latest Challenge for Many States

Amid the economic uncertainty surrounding fiscal cliff negotiations, and what it means for states, some governors are erring on the side of caution when it comes to funding recommendations for the upcoming year. At the same time, several state budget officers are projecting significant revenue shortfalls in the current fiscal year or biennium as a result of lower than expected tax collections.

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.

Big Data: The Next Big Thing in Economic Development?

In 2012, Big Data has become one of the hottest topics in the news and the minds of both government and business leaders. Big Data is the collection and analysis of data that is too big, growing too fast or is too complex for existing information technology systems to handle.

MA Lawmakers Pass Jobs Bill with $50M R&D Matching Grant Fund

A bill introduced less than three months ago to spur economic activity through high-impact university-industry R&D projects and provide tools for tech-based startup companies was passed with overwhelming support in the legislature. In addition to the matching fund, the bill includes funding to provide paid internships to startup technology companies and establishes an entrepreneur and startup venture capital mentoring program. Measures to address the state's skills gap and promote manufacturing competitiveness also are included.

Governors' Higher Ed Reforms Win Approval in MA, NJ

Two bold proposals seeking to make big changes to community colleges in Massachusetts and New Jersey research universities recently were approved by lawmakers. In Massachusetts, more funding for the state's 15 community colleges is tied to increased oversight, performance measures and integration of workforce development initiatives. Meanwhile, New Jersey lawmakers passed a bill merging a medical and dentistry school with Rutgers University in hopes of strengthening partnerships for research projects and drawing more federal funding.

Partnerships Intended to Establish Massachusetts as a World Leader in Big Data

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced the creation of the Massachusetts Big Data Initiative, a number of steps and initiatives that will help turn the state into a world leader in big data — the collection and analysis of data that is too big, growing too fast or is too complex for existing information technology systems to handle. To achieve this goal, the state will partner with several private partners and research institutions to establish several new initiatives including:

MA Leaders Want $50M R&D Matching Grant Fund to Spur Job Growth

Massachusetts House leaders introduced a bill earlier this week calling for funding to support R&D at universities and research centers, manufacturing grants and workforce training, and a venture capital mentoring program for startups. The measure is touted as a jobs bill to stimulate the state's sluggish recovery by focusing on high-growth sectors of the economy.

START Program to Accelerate SBIR Funded Projects in Massachusetts

A new program launched in Massachusetts will help companies commercialize technologies developed under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program by picking up where Phase II of the program leaves off, providing financial support, coaching and introductions to potential investors. The Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation will initiate the program with $6 million over the next three years.

Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine Release Innovation Indices

While many state programs provide periodic reports on their activities and impacts, a few states provide regular data on their innovation economy as a whole. These reports can be useful in assessing a state's overall approach to TBED and in finding new areas for strategic intervention. Recently, groups in Massachusetts, Maine and Illinois separately released innovation indices that provide quantitative guides to their state's progress in fostering innovation.

Governors Ramp up Skilled Workforce Initiatives

Lawmakers in several states will consider legislation this year aimed at solving the workforce disconnect as states continue to struggle with unemployment and look for ways to attract industries in emerging fields. Many of the recent proposals, including those in Connecticut and Massachusetts, focus on revamping oversight of higher education and workforce training to offer better tools and a quicker path to a degree and skills matched with the needs of businesses.