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.


Pandemic upends states’ legislative sessions

Postposed primary elections, shuttered schools, sheltering in place orders and millions of workers shifting to home offices while others are displaced completely — the COVID-19 pandemic is radically altering the way of life for the country. States, too, are scrambling to respond to the pandemic while dealing with ongoing legislative sessions and budget negotiations. Some of those responses are detailed here.

NIST seeking pathways for including non-federal manufacturing centers in national network

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking to expand the network of Manufacturing USA centers for innovation, providing pathways for participation from external industry organizations, according to a recent notice in the Federal Register.

NIH activates new funding vehicle for COVID-19 R&D, other measures seek more information

For the first time and in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) together with the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) has activated the NIH Urgent Award mechanism. The targeted opportunity is intended to provide funds for NIH grantees applying to expand the scope of their active grant.

Biotech industry diversity examined

The biotechnology industry has made progress in increasing representation, especially in pre-revenue, smaller and private companies, however, diversity and inclusion programming is still in the nascent stages at most companies responding to a survey by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).

SEC proposes changes to exempt offerings including crowdfunding

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently proposed rule changes that aim to make fundraising easier for new companies, including by expanding crowdfunding’s applicability and allowing for “demo day” communications. The changes target three particular methods of exemptions: Regulation A, Rule 504 of Regulation D, and Regulation Crowdfunding.

.ORG management change could double URL fees

Organizations using a web address ending in .ORG should be aware of an upcoming change affecting website registrations. In brief, the nonprofit manager of the .ORG top-level domain is requesting permission from ICANN, which is ultimately responsible for domain registration, to a private equity firm.

NYT declares tech “humbled” but overreaches on underlying data

A recent New York Times article points to high-profile stumbles by tech startups, particularly underwhelming IPOs by billion-dollar companies and thousands of people laid-off, and declares “start-up bloom deflates, tech is humbled.” As SSTI expressed concern abou

Is every job a STEM job?

STEM and the American Workforce, a new report backed mostly by science associations, points to STEM jobs as one-third of direct employment, two-thirds of total employment, and 69 percent of America’s GDP. The authors highlight that 60 percent of STEM jobs are filled by people without bachelor’s degrees.

New reports bolster broadband data, provide tactics for successful state broadband expansion

Two new reports, one from the National Association of Counties (NACO) and the other from the Pew Charitable Trusts, provide new data on the gaps in access to broadband and some tactics for how states can effectively develop their broadband expansion projects.

Momentum builds for $50 million Regional Innovation program in FY 2021

Nine national, nonprofit think tanks and innovation-focused associations have written a letter urging the Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations subcommittees to provide $50 million in FY 2021 for Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS; now Build-to-Scale). Similarly, 50 current and former awardees have written to ask Congress to continue expanding the program’s support. These efforts follow dozens of meetings between SSTI members and congressional offices early last month.

Aging states face greater economic constraints

As the country’s working age demographic continues to get older, state budgets, especially those in the Northeast, will face greater pressure from increased Medicaid costs, says a new report from S&P Global Ratings. Environmental, Social, And Governance: Increasing Generational Dependency Poses Long-Term Social Risks To U.S. States' Fiscal And Economic Stability examines those trends resulting from the shifting demographics. By 2035, the number of people age 65 and older is expected to outnumber those under the age of 18 for the first time in U.S. history. This is expected to create economic, fiscal and social challenges for state governments.

States launching innovation initiatives across the country

Proving that innovation is appealing to states regardless of their size or political leanings, new initiatives in both Democratic and Republican states, as well as large states like California and small states like Vermont, are driving innovation agendas into action in areas ranging from clean energy and aid for students and colleges, to new venture capital investments and bond financing to support business collaborations with higher education to help translate cutting-edge research into products and companies.

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