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

Spending Plans in IA and MA Seek to Balance Cuts with Job Creation Efforts

Deep cuts to higher education and reorganizing economic development efforts are common themes in executive budget proposals across most of the country as governors seek to both reduce spending and create jobs. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad recently introduced legislation to replace the state's existing economic development agency with a public-private partnership. Meanwhile, his budget eliminates the Iowa Power Fund, established by the legislature in 2007 to invest in private sector renewable and alternative energy industries. In Massachusetts, Gov.

National Institute of Standards and Technology Announces New $20 Million Grant Program

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) intends to award $20 million in grants to support the construction of new or expanded scientific research facilities. The NIST Construction Grant Program (NCGP) provides competitively awarded, cost-shared grants (non-federal cost sharing of at least 20%) to support construction and expansion projects including laboratories, test facilities, measurement facilities, research computing facilities and observatories.

TIP Outlines R&D Grant Funding Priority Areas in New Three-Year Plan

The Technology Innovation Program (TIP), a program within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), released its Three-Year Plan covering proposed grant competition topics through FY 2014. Future TIP grant competitions may target specific research topics within eight areas of critical national need: civil infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, health care, water resources, complex networks and sustainability.

MA Economic Development Bill Aims to Increase Access to Capital, Streamline Agencies

Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law last week an economic development bill that includes the creation of the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation to provide access to capital and mentoring for small businesses capitalized with $35 million, and a $5 million recapitalization of the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation to provide funds for early stage technology startups. The bill also reorganizes and consolidates economic development agencies focused on regionally based efforts to grow and attract businesses to the state, according to a press release.

Job Corner

UMass Donahue Institute is seeking a director for the economic and public policy research unit (EPPR) that consists of an outstanding team of twelve research and professional staff. Along with a commitment to public service, the ideal candidate will be a knowledge leader, outstanding communicator, program developer, collaborator and experienced manager and researcher. Familiarity with relevant research areas and potential clients in Massachusetts and New England, including industry, government, professional associations, and nonprofit organizations is preferred.

Legislative Wrap-Up: Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Tennessee Pass Budgets

Several states recently enacted spending plans for the upcoming fiscal year, which started July 1 for most states. In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law the LA GRAD Act, granting universities more flexibility to raise tuition in return for meeting certain performance goals. Lawmakers in Massachusetts allocated $10 million to continue the state's investment in life sciences, Pennsylvania Gov.

Advanced Manufacturing Initiative Unveiled in MA

Enlisting support from industry, policymakers and academics, Gov. Deval Patrick unveiled an initiative to help the state's manufacturers evolve with changing technology, adopt new innovations, and grow their operations through a new multi-tiered loan program. The Advanced Manufacturing Initiative is a public-private collaboration designed to maximize job creation within the manufacturing sector, which added more than 19,000 jobs last month, according to the governor's office.

New Initiative to Help MA CEOs and Entrepreneurs Launch New Companies

A group of Massachusetts CEOs, venture capitalists (VC) and entrepreneurs recently launched a new initiative to create new, successful companies. The 12x12 Initiative will allow successful CEOs to collaborate with entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into new businesses. The resulting "team" also would include an experienced VC and would help the companies connect to mentoring services, capital and other opportunities.  Read the press release ...

Massachusetts Leads in STEM Degrees, But Students Losing Interest

Massachusetts ranks first in the country in patents per capita, SBIR awards and in R&D spending as a percent of gross domestic product (GDP), according to the latest version of the Index of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy. Though the report finds that the state's innovation economy is growing and, in many ways, suffered less than others during the economic crisis, it recommends taking action to increase student interest in STEM careers and to help launch new businesses.

Input Sought on Green TBED Initiatives

MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning is researching how economic development organizations are working with small businesses to address market opportunities or needs related to global climate change and the "green economy." The department currently is looking for economic development organizations to complete a brief, voluntary survey (10 minutes) relating to "green" programs and activities. Results will be shared with the economic development community and be made publicly available.

Competing Massachusetts Bills Have Similar Goals: Consolidating TBED, Econ. Dev.

Two bills aiming to consolidate state agencies and establish incentives for job creation were introduced last week by Gov. Deval Patrick and Senate President Therese Murray. Gov. Patrick's bill would merge the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation with the Massachusetts Community Development Finance Corporation and the Economic Stabilization Trust to form a new Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation funded by a $25 million capital bond authorization and $15 million from the Emerging Technology Fund.

Legislative Wrap-up: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island Pass FY10 Budgets

Over the past few months, several states have enacted spending plans for the upcoming fiscal year and passed legislation to support renewable energy initiatives and tax credits for R&D. While some TBED programs will face dramatic cuts in FY10, others are slated for slight decreases or will receive level funding. The following synopsis provides an overview of the 2009 legislative sessions across the following states: