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House budget increases innovation spending, including IAC priorities

The House has now passed 10 of the 12 annual appropriations bills for FY 2021. Within the total funding is support for key innovation priorities, including $35 million for EDA’s Build-to-Scale (i.e., Regional Innovation Strategies), $6 million for SBA’s innovation clusters program and $4 million for Federal and State Technology Partnerships (FAST). SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council had made expanding funding for each of these initiatives a priority for the year.

Missouri governor uses CARES funds to support incubator facilities

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson last week announced that $1 million of the state’s CARES Act funding will be used to create a grant for nonprofit and university-based coworker and incubator facilities. The grant will be administered by the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC). Organizations will be reimbursed with grant funds for expenses related to updating the facilities to encourage social distancing, adopting enhanced sanitation protocols or acquiring PPE to comply with the guidelines of the public health emergency.

New entrepreneurs are increasingly older, minorities, and immigrants

A recent report from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation examined the changing makeup of entrepreneurship over the period of 1996 to 2019, finding that older people, immigrants, and minorities are becoming new entrepreneurs at increasing rates.

Pre-pandemic stress test already showed warning signs for more than 500 colleges and universities

More than 500 colleges and universities nationwide showed warning signs in a stress test that was conducted before the pandemic according to a new series of reports by the Hechinger Report and NBC News. Declining enrollment and decreased state government support had left dozens of universities under financial stress. With the added pressures of the coronavirus pandemic, “the fabric of American higher education as become even more strained,” the report says.

Higher ed playing outsize role in rural economies

The importance of higher education institutions in helping rural communities build innovation-based ecosystems has been detailed in a report released by the Center on Rural Innovation. Higher Ed’s Key Role In Rural Innovation Ecosystems profiles 10 colleges and universities that have been engaged in their area’s innovation environment and explores what techniques each institution has found most useful in building that ecosystem.

Tech seeking to address diversity, gender challenge

A leading technology association has stepped up to positively impact tech diversity and inclusion through a new challenge that aims to double the percentage of the state’s Black and Latinx tech workers — currently at 5 and 7 percent respectively — by the end of the decade.

Cities failing non-college workers

Non-college workers who long found refuge and economic mobility in thriving cities have seen those opportunities diminish and in turn have moved out of the areas. Although cities remain vibrant for workers with advanced degrees, “the urban skills and earnings escalator for non-college workers has lost its ability to lift workers up the income ladder,” finds David Autor in his recent research brief.

NGA offers roadmap for state leaders to build a resilient workforce

After more than a year of research and facing greater disruption to the workforce than imagined at the outset, the National Governors Association (NGA) has released a guide for governors and state policymakers to help build a technologically resilient workforce. Written before the COVID-19 outbreak, the authors of the report attest that trends previously identified will only accelerate, and thus there is even greater urgency for policy transformations that should be implemented as part of a system wide, resilient education and workforce development agenda.

Useful Stats: State business R&D investment (1999-2017)

While business investments towards research and development have varied among states, the overall trend throughout the country has been a positive one. Business R&D funding has weathered two recessions over the past 20 years, with many states seeing investments grow beyond their pre-recession levels. While the scope of COVID-19’s economic impact continues to grow, business R&D investment has shown a strong history of recovering from, and building beyond, national financial downturns.

$1.5 million awarded through Kauffman Heartland Challenge

The Kauffman Foundation has announced 17 organizations will share the $1.5 million in funding allocated through their Heartland Challenge. These grantees will work to solve specific challenges entrepreneurs in the heartland region — comprised of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas — face, and will participate in facilitated, peer-learning communities of practice to share knowledge across the region.

House probes role of innovation in clean energy

A recent hearing by the House science committee provided several experts, including Lee Cheatham from SSTI-member Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, an opportunity to discuss the importance of science and innovation to achieving a “clean energy future.” Comments by the panelists largely focused on the value of public-private partnerships, such as those modeled through SBIR/STTR, prize competitions, and joint research at national labs, to develo

Exactly 21 years after first Digest story, GAO and FCC still talking about digital divide

Exactly 21 years after the SSTI Weekly Digest ran its first story on the digital divide, a recent report by the Government Accountability Office confirms what inestimable studies before it have reported: access to broadband has expanded, but significant shortcomings in broadband still exist. Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission has issued new rules to improve collection and mapping of broadband availability. The commission is also seeking comments on proposals to ensure the accuracy of the new broadband coverage maps.

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