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.


Manufacturing Institutes strengthen industry partnerships, R&D, workforce in 2018

Manufacturing USA recently released its 2018 annual report highlighting the progress its 14 associated institutes have made in growing the Manufacturing USA network, increasing manufacturing technology development and technology transfer, and promoting workforce development.

Senate committee advances FY 2020 bills, $31M for RIS

The U.S. Senate advanced multiple FY 2020 bills through the appropriations committee in the past week, including the budgets for EDA, NIST, SBA, and NSF. Among the highlights include $31 million for the Regional Innovation program at EDA, a robust increase over FY 2019’s $23.5 million. While the Senate continues to work through this appropriations process, the chamber is also considering a resolution to continue funding the government from the end of the current fiscal year, Sept. 30, through Nov. 21.

SBA announces 60 accelerators competition winners

SBA’s 2019 Growth Accelerators Fund Competition winners were announced yesterday, awarding $50,000 to each of 60 organizations across the country. Special congratulations to the SSTI members, including BioSTL (BioGenerator), TechTown Detroit, Startup Junkie Foundation (Fuel), Invest Nebraska, Launch Tennessee, Innovation Works, Arrowhead Center (Sprints), and University of Illinois (EnterpriseWorks).

SSTI Annual Conference highlights innovation happening across the country

SSTI’s Annual Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, held September 9-11, showcased successful programs, addressed challenges and examined trends and new developments across the innovation economy. We always like to welcome back old friends and are encouraged to see new faces. Said one long-time attendee, “I used to say this is the place to network with the most experienced and sophisticated practitioners. I’m pleased to see the blend of young people coming now, so I would say that SSTI brings together the young and seasoned for very effective conversation and exchange of ideas.”

Anchor institutions supporting place-based innovation

The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently provided funding to establish the Anchor Learning Network, a three-year, joint project of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities and The Democracy Collaborative as a means of sharing successful practices and lessons learned among the 31 member higher education institutions in their efforts to increase their local economic impact.  The partner institutions commit to participating in educational conferences and webinars to share experiences among member institutions and to maintain metrics regarding their community impact performance on a range of activities – hiring, purchasing, supplier diversity, affordable housing, community investing, workforce development, and small business and innovation centers. 

Workforce programs receiving state attention

As the month of September marks national Workforce Development Month, states around the country continue to forge ahead with programs and initiatives to help train the workforce and attract more workers to open positions. This article highlights two new reports out that detail state efforts in various workforce programs, as well as calling out several new or proposed programs in Ohio, Vermont and Arizona that are designed to increase and develop the workforce in each of those states.

Latest White House science memo downplays tech transfer

Each year, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) produces a memo to direct the administration’s R&D priorities. The office recently released its first such directive under its new director, Kelvin Droegemeier, who was appointed to the position under President Donald Trump. As described by Science, this year’s description of priority research areas “hews closely” to the administration’s prior directives. The section addressing actions to affect federal R&D, however, places less emphasis on technology transfer than in other statements by this administration. 

NSF Convergence Accelerator Pilot Program issues first round of awards

NSF is issuing its first set of awards from the Convergence Accelerator Pilot. The new program is intended to accelerate use-inspired, convergence research in areas of national importance through partnerships between academic and non-academic stakeholders. The Convergence Accelerator (C-Accel) pilot program focuses on two of the NSF’s “10 Big Ideas” and emphasizes the importance of deliverable-oriented, multidisciplinary teams.

SBA makes 24 FAST awards to advance SBIR/STTR

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced 24 grants to organizations working to increase SBIR/STTR awards and commercialization outcomes in their states. The Federal and State Technology Partnership program (FAST) emphasizes initiatives focusing on underrepresented regions and entrepreneurs.

Congratulations to the SSTI members receiving FAST awards in the 2019 cycle:

Wind power gains ground in 2018, but faces challenges at federal level

A trio of reports from the U.S. Department of Energy showed a continued upward trend in wind energy capacity and employment in 2018, as the cost per megawatt (MW) continued to drop due to larger and more efficient turbines. However, the possible elimination of federal tax incentives could slow the long-term growth of wind power, the report cautioned.

Democrats and Republicans differ in views about value of higher education

A growing number of Republicans have a negative view of higher education, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The survey found that, overall, half of all the adults in this country have a positive attitude toward higher education, down from 55 percent in 2017 and 63 percent in 2016.

A dozen makerspaces win $1 million total in pilot competition

The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced the winners of a $1 million competition designed to help makerspaces train the future workforce, focusing on addressing the job skills and placement gap faced by U.S. businesses. The 12 winners of the Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition, will reap $1 million total in prize money across three tiers.

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