SSTI Digest

Geography: New Mexico

Faculty Involvement Credited with Tech Transfer Boost in NM, TN

New efforts to step up technology transfer at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and the University of Tennessee (UT) have resulted in a record number of invention disclosures over the last year. In both cases, much of the achievement is attributed to faulty involvement, including new outreach efforts by the universities and more aggressive and ambitious goals set for the institutions.

Mid-Session Update on State TBED Proposals

As many states near the mid-point of their 2012 legislative sessions, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at some of the bills advancing in statehouses that could impact states' efforts to improve economic conditions. Several states are seeking to advance access to capital initiatives as they continue to struggle with declining revenue and tight credit restrictions. The following overview provides a sampling of TBED bills supporting access to capital, R&D enhancements and higher education standards.

Higher Ed Funding in AZ, NM Focuses on Outcomes, Increasing STEM Grads

With a sharp decline in state funding available for higher education over the past several years, performance- and outcome-based funding has garnered a great deal of attention in several states seeking to maximize education funds and support economic growth. Governors in Arizona and New Mexico recently proposed significant reforms in higher education funding so that universities with greater R&D expenditures and those that graduate more students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields would receive a bigger share of state funds. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's funding plan for higher education builds on a formula recommendation published last year by the Board of Regents that includes increases in degrees, credit hours and outside research and public service funding. Gov. Brewer recommends moving to the Board of Regents $15 million of the universities' base funding, which would be allocated using each university's share of total general fund support. The state would match the $15 million, for a total $30 million to be allocated by the Board of Regents to the universities based on an agreed-upon funding formula. The governor plans to work with the legislature and the universities in the coming months to determine a performance-funding formula. Her recommendations include incentivizing greater production of in-demand degrees specifically in the STEM fields. The governor also would expand community college and university partnership programs and increase graduation rates. The executive budget recommends $706.8 million for the University System in FY13, up from $682.5 million last year. Budget documents are available at: New Mexico Colleges and universities that increase the number of graduates qualified to fill new economy jobs in fields such as science, technology, engineering, health care and mathematics (STEHM) would be rewarded with more state funding under Gov. Susana Martinez's new formula. The governor wants to change the state's current formula, which funds higher education institutions based on size, courses and degree programs started to one that awards funding based on courses and degree programs completed. Although many details of the proposal have not been released, Jose Garcia, Secretary of Higher Education, said initially no institution would gain or lose more than 2 percent of its funding, and the ration of funding to the two-year and four-year colleges and universities would remain roughly equal, reports El Defensor Chieftain. Read the governor's press release:

Tech Talkin' Govs: Part II

The second installment of SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Alaska, Colorado, Missouri, and New Mexico. Our first installment was in the Jan. 11 Digest. Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, State of the State Address, Jan. 19, 2012 "I also thank you for working with me to create a merit scholarship that gives all Alaska's children an incentive to complete a more rigorous high school curriculum. ... "... In its first year, this scholarship has been a remarkable success. Now we must secure it for future years. This legislative session, let us take the $400 million that we set aside last year, and build a strong fence of moral obligation around it. Let us create a fund for that money so the fund's earnings can pay for these scholarships for future generations." Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, State of the State Address, Jan. 12, 2012 "We established the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) to foster collaboration and idea-sharing across private sector, academic and public lines, including the 29 research laboratories in Colorado. ... "... COIN gives us a unique opportunity to incubate entrepreneurship and facilitate the transfer of new ideas to the marketplace. ... "... While COIN is privately funded, we are asking for a modest public investment to continue the success we had with Arrow and GE." Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, State of the State Address, Jan. 17, 2012 "As part of our Missouri Works strategy, the budget I present tonight continues our record investment in worker training for a second year, especially in high-tech areas so critical to modern manufacturing. ... "... The next pillar of Missouri Works is to accelerate investment in high-growth industries like science and technology. ... "... With the passage last year of the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, we are poised for rapid progress. "As part of Missouri Works, my budget includes $4 million in seed capital to invest in attracting the very best science talent to Missouri." New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, State of the State Address, Jan. 17, 2012 "We need to invest in a culture of entrepreneurship so more of these family businesses can make it — so they can grow and hire more New Mexicans. "I'm also proposing a tax credit for high-tech research and development to attract more high-paying jobs to the state."

TBED People

SSTI Board member Phillip Singerman has been named as the Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He will assume this position on January 31.

Clean Tech Commercialization in NM Will Create High-tech Businesses and Jobs, Says Group

In Growing New Mexico's Clean Tech Economy, the Clean Technology Commercialization Working Group examines steps that must be taken for New Mexico to capitalize on the state's clean technology opportunity by bridging the funding "valley of death." In a report commissioned by the New Mexico Economic Development Department, the advisory group asserts four high-priority recommendations will accelerate New Mexico's clean technology commercialization. New Mexico's strengths mainly revolve around the state's existing intellectual infrastructure (e.g., research universities and two national laboratories). Currently, the state is a national leader in federal R&D spending. However, the state currently faces several weakness related to private and state financing for clean technology ventures including, state budget deficits, lack of investment banks, lack of larger venture capital firms, insufficient technology maturation funding/programs and missing incentives for venture capital and business R&D. They rank last among all states in state R&D spending. The advisory group asserts that these recommendations will incentivize private investors and entrepreneurs to turn basic research in to market-ready products. The recommendations include:

TBED People

The Tennessee Biotechnology Association has changed their name to Life Science Tennessee.

New Mexico Candidates Propose Access to Capital, Tax Cuts for Small Businesses

The candidate elected as New Mexico's 27th governor will make history as the state's first female governor. Democratic nominee Diane Denish and Republican nominee Susana Martinez both offer plans largely focused on New Mexico's economic recovery and balancing the state budget. Denish's plan centers on support for small businesses such as greater access to capital and establishing a Federal Innovation Research Matching Grant program for small, high-tech companies. Martinez has proposed a variety of tax cuts and regulatory reform as well as a plan to revive the energy sector by encouraging producers to invest in new technology.



Incubator RoundUp: Top Performing Incubators Named in NBIA Awards

The role of a technology incubator or accelerator for supporting nascent firms generally is regarded with the utmost importance by the tech-based economic development community. Tech incubators provide essential resources for startup companies to develop and commercialize new technologies, leading to the creation of high-quality jobs.

States Push Green Energy Initiatives to Combat Recession, Create Jobs

In the midst of a national economic recession contributing to a record number of job losses in traditional industries, forward thinking states are exploring ideas and committing funds to help grow and diversify their economies and strengthen their renewable energy portfolios.

New Mexico Legislature Supports Green Jobs Bills, Rejects Stem Cell Research

In support of Gov. Bill Richardson's proposal to develop a workforce trained for 21st century jobs, the New Mexico State Legislature passed two bills this session allocating funds and creating training programs for green jobs. Lawmakers also supported a technology transfer initiative and several measures aimed at growing the state's solar industry.