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.


Decreased state funding for higher ed resulting in higher costs for students, increased inequality

Rising tuition and worsened racial and class inequality are two of the effects of decreasing state support for higher education, according to a recent report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  In it the authors detail how overall state funding for public two- and four-year colleges has not fully recovered in most states following the recession, leaving higher costs and reduced services in many cases.

States with new university-industry partnerships & research capacity activities work to strengthen economies and talent pipelines

Research universities and their partnerships with industry, including an institution’s research capacity, are important elements to building a state’s economy as well as the national economy and talent pipeline and workforce.

SSTI encourages OSTP to support bioeconomy through commercialization, apprenticeship assistance

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is exploring a national strategy to promote the U.S. bioeconomy. In response to a request for information, SSTI submitted a letter encouraging OSTP to leverage existing regional assets as part of its approach. To see more innovations converted into new products, services and businesses, the letter encourages a new program to fund commercialization assistance and to strengthen SBIR.

Useful Stats: Median Household Income by State, 1984-2018

While rankings and annual indices are catnip for some looking to gain attention for their latest rankings, SSTI has always argued that it’s long-term trends that give the best sense of where a state or region stands. With recent release of income data, SSTI has examined the last 34 years data in median household income for each state. SSTI found that while median household income — adjusted to 2018 dollars — has risen in nearly every state and the U.S. since 1984 with an average annual rate of increase of 0.8 percent, the growth, not surprisingly, varies widely among individual states.

Declining innovation funding threatens future economy

Two recent reports highlight the importance of funding innovation in the U.S., and give a glimpse into the perils of ignoring it. The reports, from The Aspen Institute and Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), independently corroborate the role of the public sector in ensuring a more prosperous future through innovation.

SSTI, economic development peers submit OZ letter to EDA

SSTI and five peer, economic development-focused organizations submitted a letter to assistant secretary for economic development, John Fleming, in response to a request for information about incorporating Opportunity Zones (OZs) into existing EDA practices. The letter encourages the agency to be cautious in its approach, pointing out that OZ’s impacts are not yet understood.

States launching new tech commercialization programs to strengthen economies

Knowing that research universities are integral to the innovation in this country, states continue their efforts to build the economy by supporting efforts to move the research from the labs to the market.

Trump reestablishes council to advise him on science, tech, innovation and education policy

President Donald Trump this week issued an executive order reinstituting the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to advise the president on matters involving science, technology, education, and innovation policy and named the first seven people to the council.

Three studies probe NIH R&D representation, conflicts of interest

In recent weeks, three separate reviews of R&D grants and awards at NIH have shed new light on issues of minority and women representation among researchers and on potential conflicts of interest by investigators. NIH has been publicly working to address concerns about representation and trustworthiness among its investigators. While the results from these studies show that the agency has more work to do, the availability of this information speaks favorably to NIH's transparent approach to these conversations. 

Useful Stats: Business R&D growing more concentrated in fewer states

Business R&D activity has been historically concentrated in a few states and became even more so in 2017, according to a National Science Foundation issue brief on the latest Business Research & Development and Innovation Survey (BRDIS).

In trying to build economic diversity, Wyoming targeting certain sectors

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon recently announced that changes are coming to the state’s ENDOW initiative, a 20-year vision that was crafted under his predecessor, Gov. Matt Mead. As part of the coming changes, Gordon said the initiative will target certain industries (such as aerospace, defense and healthcare), be smaller in its scope, and incremental in its strategy.

5G initiatives begin exploring future of the emerging technology

A new innovation hub slated to open in January in Washington promises to connect 5G startups with investors and technology labs, while also creating a pipeline of jobs for students interested in the emerging sector. A separate effort in Virginia will become a testbed for 5G wireless security that is expected to accelerate cyber research and include 39 universities and four federal partners. Last year, the president directed the secretary of commerce to lead the creation of a long-term spectrum plan and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has since outlined development priorities for American leadership in the emerging technology.  But with no 5G network up and running yet, one may begin to wonder if all the attention is hype, or rooted in reality of a truly disruptive technology that will largely advance society. A recent briefing paper from the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy seeks to answer who is likely to benefit from this promised vastly faster connectivity, and how that value will be captured.

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