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: Oregon

Around the World in TBED

The United Kingdom (UK) recently announced that it will petition the European Commission, the European Union’s executive body, for permission to increase the size of tax relief for social investments that address significant social issues. In the U.S., Georgetown University and Portland State University recently announced new initiatives to promote innovation that will address social issues. These universities join a growing number of institutions of higher education that are working to grow domestic social innovation, train a generation of social entrepreneurship and spur social impact investing.

STEM at the Forefront of States’ Education Policy

States across the U.S. are directing their attention to science, technology, education and technology (STEM) education, and already have passed a plethora of new initiatives in the current legislative session.  These programs are directed at various levels of education including primary education and higher education, with one program specifically designated for the state’s community colleges. A number of states have created STEM advisory councils under the governors’ offices, following the lead of Iowa and Massachusetts.

States Target Research, Commercialization for Economic Growth

A continued trend toward improved fiscal conditions gave rise to targeted and riskier investments in research for several states this legislative session. In particular, lawmakers dedicated funds for life sciences research and for initiatives aimed at commercialization through partnerships with higher education and the private sector. Other states dedicated additional funds to expand promising research and technology-focused initiatives already underway.

Oregon Legislature Approves "Pay It Forward" Pilot Program to Help Students Pay for College

Oregon lawmakers unanimously approved a bill (HB 3472) that instructs the state's Higher Education Coordinating Commission to design a pilot program to evaluate a new college funding system known as "Pay It Forward." Under the proposed model, students would commit a percentage of their future incomes to repay the state, instead of paying tuition or taking out traditional loans to attend community colleges and universities. The bill currently awaits the signature of Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Government Info Fuels Open Data Entrepreneurship

A new article from Governing magazine is promoting free digital access to public information, or “Open Data,” as a pathway for promoting entrepreneurship and government cost-savings. When governments release free digital public records entrepreneurs can use the information to create apps that provide valuable and profitable services to consumers.

Oregon Innovation Efforts to get 56% Boost in Gov's Budget

Encouraged by promising commercialization efforts, new companies created and an impressive leverage of outside funding, Gov. John Kitzhaber has proposed a more than 50 percent increase in Oregon innovation efforts through the state's signature research centers. The governor's budget proposal for 2013-15 also includes funding to address small business capital needs and to better align workforce programs with employer needs. Calling his two-year spending plan an “education investment budget,” Gov.

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.

$20M Awarded to 10 Public-Private Regional Partnerships Geared towards Advanced Manufacturing Initiatives

The Obama administration announced winners of the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge on Tuesday. The challenge — publicized earlier this year — is one of the key initiatives of the interagency Taskforce for the Advancement of Regional Innovation Clusters and is sponsored by a partnership between the U.S. Department of Commerce, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Departments of Energy and Labor, and the Small Business Administration.

TBED and the 2012 Ballots

Voters in 37 states will decide on more than 170 ballot measures this year, many of which are related to tech-based economic development (TBED). Tax measures seem to be dominating ballots this year, with questions relating to both decreases and increases for sales, property and income taxes. Several states are counting on voters to agree to temporary increases to help fill budget deficits and ensure steady funding for education.

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.

Providing Access to Capital

Incubator Round Up

Spending time at a technology or business incubator may be the key to learning about entrepreneurship. Some universities, seeking to ramp up entrepreneurship programs, are turning to incubators as real-world teachers.

OR Legislature Provides Level Funding for Innovation Efforts, Adopts Strict Higher Ed Policy

The 2011-13 biennial budget for the Oregon Business Development Department recently approved by lawmakers allocates $16 million for the Oregon Innovation Council (Oregon InC), the same amount as last biennium, but short of the $19 million requested by Gov. John Kitzhaber to broaden research and technology transfer programs.