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SSTI Digest

Useful Stats: SSTI analysis reviews life science patent distribution throughout the U.S., 1998-2020

It appears that innovation is contagious. Maps reveal that once there is a concentration of patents granted to inventors in one U.S. county, innovation starts to percolate in neighboring counties. And the phenomenon isn’t found only in established life sciences hubs like San Diego or Boston. SSTI observed this spillover effect in Washtenaw County, Michigan and Hennepin County, Minnesota, among other places. These data suggest that when a strong base is located, likely due to new companies and startups establishing themselves, innovation lays down its roots and spreads to other counties.

Staffing changes for EDA national programs

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has recently made multiple staff appointments for its national program offices. Cristina Killingsworth is now EDA’s deputy assistant secretary for policy and external Affairs, having formerly been chief of staff for the International Trade Administration. This new position blends responsibility for four national programs—Tech Hubs, Recompete, Build Back Better and Good Jobs challenges—with oversight of the agency’s legislative and public affairs activities. Eric Smith is now Tech Hubs program director, with Chivas Grannum filling Smith’s position as acting director of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Director. Scott Andes is now Recompete program director and Tech Hubs policy advisor, with Alex Jones taking on the role of director on an acting basis for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge program. For more information on EDA leadership, see: https://www.eda.gov/about/leadership.

EPA offers two new funding opportunities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently launched two Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs): the National Clean Investment Fund and the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator. The National Clean Investment fund provides $14 billion to provide accessible, affordable financing for tens of thousands of clean technology projects nationwide. The Clean Communities Investment Accelerator provides $6 billion funding and technical assistance to public, quasi-public, not-for-profit, and nonprofit community lenders working in low-income and disadvantaged communities

R&D funding remains stable, but sources fluctuate

Over the past two decades, business has done most of the heavy lifting for research and development (R&D) funding. Calculated in the dollar value of 2012, business funding increased from $10.4 billion in 2000 to an estimated $36.0 billion in 2021.

Public will have quicker and easier access to federally funded research results

Over the last month, the Department of Energy (DOE), National Science Foundation (NSF), and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have released plans for complying with a 2022 White House policy that requires scientific papers resulting from federally funded research to be freely available upon publication, sunsetting the current one-year embargo period by 2025.

New CEDS guidelines emphasize equity, broadband, climate resilience, and workforce development

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has updated its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Content Guidelines, effective April 2023. CEDS are strategy-driven plans for economic development prepared through a regionally owned planning process. Designed to build regional capacity and economic resilience, an active CEDS is a prerequisite for EDA designation as an Economic Development District (EDD), which serves as the main conduit through which TBED organizations may seek funding from EDA’s Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance program.

NSF expands its advanced materials network with nine new centers

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is expanding a network of research centers across the country to translate university-based R&D into new, and hopefully, better advanced materials. In late June, NSF announced the distribution of $162 million to support the creation of nine more Materials Research Science & Engineering Centers (MRSECs), bringing the total number of centers to twenty. Each of the new centers will receive $18 million over six years.

Senate committee continues Commerce, Science funding for FY 2024

The Senate appropriations committee advanced a set of FY 2024 funding bills this morning that largely continue level funding from FY 2023. While the full bill text is not yet available, a press release about the commerce and science bill identified $200 million for the Engines program at NSF, $175 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership at NIST, and $50 million for Build to Scale, $41 million for Tech Hubs, and $2.5 million for the STEM Talent Challenge at EDA. These amounts are all inline with the funding provided through regular FY 2023 appropriations but do not yet include any of the supplementary amounts included in last year’s omnibus (e.g., Tech Hubs was funded at a total of $500 million in FY 2023); see SSTI’s article on FY 2023 funding for details. The House subcommittee overseeing commerce and science funding is expected to advance its FY 2024 bill tomorrow morning. Senate appropriations also advanced funding for SBA this morning, but program funding levels are unavailable.

Join your peers at SSTI conference in Atlanta this Sept. 6-8

SSTI’s Annual Conference is in Atlanta this Sept. 6-8. The event will feature numerous opportunities to connect with your peers from across the country who are working to strengthen their regional innovation economies through roundtables focused on specific areas of practice and workshops on communications, building stronger organizations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. The entire conference is available for a registration fee of just $390. Reserve your spot today!

NOFO for $200M Recompete released; take another look at your area’s eligibility

Did you use the Recompete Mapping Tool to check your eligibility for this new EDA funding opportunity when the fact sheet and map were first released? If you did, and you got the response, “Contact your local economic development office” don’t stop there! EDA has updated its mapping tool in the past few days to reflect significant flexibility in program eligibility. These changes mean that many more regions may be able to successfully compete for strategy development awards and, ultimately, implementation awards.

SBIR reduction at DOE

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has reduced its funding for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The cut at the Office of Science—the agency’s primary program administrator—appears to be about 35%. The change resulted from congressional direction that the agency had miscalculated its SBIR set-aside and is intended to make the Office of Science’s calculation more consistent with that of the other programs in DOE. The reduction will likely result in tougher competition for SBIR/STTR awards at the agency in the foreseeable future.

Forecast predicts generative AI to make many white-collar workers blue

If a recent forecast from McKinsey & Company is correct, climate change isn’t the only rough ride ahead over the next decade for regional and national economies.

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