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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.


States making progress in evaluating tax incentives; new tool explores costs and benefits

A recent article from Pew Charitable Trusts shows how routine evaluations can help states make tangible improvements to their tax incentives. According to Pew, 30 states now have laws requiring evaluation of the incentives, and recent examinations in several states included key components that helped to inform the results. When analyses started with an effort to determine the specific goals of each incentive, their effectiveness was more easily determined.

Report offers guidance for university-community partnerships in urban areas

University-based economic development practitioners seeking to improve their relationships with urban areas have a new resource guide available to them, thanks to research from the Thriving Cities Lab at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. The lab offers guidance for colleges and universities and in its Field Guide for Urban University-Community Partnerships, authors Joshua Yates and Michaela Accardi conduct three interrelated analyses.  First, their report looks at 100 urban colleges and universities with a focus on how they interact with their home cities. Second, they cluster universities into five-distinct groups based on the types of strategies and activities they employ related to community partnerships. Based on this analysis, the authors highlight best practices at universities across the country, with a focus on specific outcomes, challenges experienced, and lessons learned, and conclude with a stepwise framework to assist colleges and universities, as well as recommendations for practitioners to make the most of these findings.

Innovation, broadband, higher education initiatives get state support

Innovation initiatives are seeing increased funding in some states as legislatures across the country begin to finalize budget bills and other legislation. SSTI continues to monitor these developments and this week we cover budget bills in Idaho that saw small increases to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program, as well as increases in the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and STEM Action Center, and new funding for a computer science initiative. South Dakota will see an increase in funding for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and West Virginia passed bills creating an SBIR/STTR matching grant program, support for community and technical college tuition assistance, expansion of broadband service, and other innovation-related initiatives in its budget that passed earlier in March.

Useful stats: Labor force participation and employment by state and metro status, 2013-2017

The U.S. unemployment rate is near its 50-year low, but the portion of the population in the labor force is also near a 40-year low.

Kresge encourages OZ reporting with further investor incentives

Many people have noticed that the Opportunity Zones tax incentive, intended to encourage investments in economically-distressed areas, lacks the type of reporting requirements that could help determine the real impacts of the incentive. Kresge Foundation is one organization that has been concerned by this information gap and has been working to implement solutions. The ultimate impact of Kresge’s latest effort is to provide further investor incentives in exchange for reporting compliance.

DOE announces $70 M for cybersecurity institute for energy efficient manufacturing

This week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $70 million for a Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute to develop technologies that will advance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, energy efficiency, and innovation. This institute will focus on early-stage research for advancing cybersecurity in energy efficient manufacturing.

Americans vision of the future bleak; science holds hope

A smattering of recent opinion polls and research papers looking to the future have revealed some grim perceptions about the economy and environment, but a more positive opinion of the role for science and technology (S&T) emerges.

Research briefs offer glimpse into American life

If you are feeling that your money is not buying as much as it used to, that delinquent crime may be increasing as teenagers sit idle, that there is not enough focus on climate change or that corporate responsibility may be lacking, you may validate those feelings through the findings of several recently released research papers. SSTI received notice of the conclusions of five working papers that we thought we’d share.

The Trade War is increasing U.S prices, declines in real income.

NSF piloting new convergence accelerator

NSF is inviting interested parties to participate in a new endeavor, the Convergence Accelerator Pilot (NSF C-Accel). The NSF C-Accel Pilot seeks to accelerate use-inspired convergence research in areas of national importance by facilitating convergent team-building capacity around exploratory, potentially high-risk proposals.

Useful Stats: Sources of funds for R&D at colleges and universities, by state

Outside of the private sector, colleges and universities perform the vast majority of R&D in the United States – but where do these funds come from? An SSTI analysis of data from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NSF NCSES) finds that, across the country, the federal government was the source of more than half (53.5 percent) of all R&D performed at colleges and universities in 2017. Institutional funds (25.1 percent), nonprofit organizations (6.8 percent), businesses (5.9 percent), state and local governments (5.6 percent), and other sources (3.0 percent) comprised the remaining sources of higher education R&D funding. The interactive chart below shows the breakdown of funding sources for research and development at colleges and universities for each state.

Report highlights grassroots strategies for shared prosperity and inclusive job growth

In an effort to inform grassroots economic development in rural communities and small- and mid-sized cities, a new report from the Upjohn Institute identifies collaborative strategies that do not necessarily rely on government funding or philanthropic gifts. The report, Building Shared Prosperity: How Communities Can Create Good Jobs for All, is based on findings from Upjohn’s Promise: Investing in Community initiative, which focuses on place-based scholarships, local labor market issues, and economic development policy.

Dozens of organizations state support for Regional Innovation Strategies

More than 50 current and former program awardees, along with 11 tech-based economic development-focused organizations led by SSTI have signed letters supporting the Regional Innovation Strategies program at EDA. Since 2014, when the program first received funding, EDA has funded 180 projects across nearly every state, D.C., and Puerto Rico. In FY 2019, Congress appropriated $23.5 million. These projects have supported specific regional activities, including mission-focused seed investing in Kansas, maritime tech demonstrations in Washington, and incubator services in Florida.

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