• Join your peers at SSTI's 2024 Annual Conference!

    Join us December 10-12 in Arizona to connect with and learn from your peers working around the country to strengthen their regional innovation economies. Visit ssticonference.org for more information and to register today.

  • Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.  Learn more about membership...

  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

SSTI Digest

NSF launches new round of funding for NSF Regional Innovation Engines, pending appropriations

Pending congressional appropriations, NSF announced a solicitation  for a new set of NSF Regional Innovation Engines (NSF Engines). These NSF Engines would be in addition to the 10 inaugural engines the agency announced in January. In this proposed round of funding, NSF would only accept proposals for full NSF Engines, competing for up to $160 million over 10 years. Proposers would be asked to submit a letter of intent in place of a concept outline and a short preliminary proposal.

160+ organizations sign letter asking Congress to fund Tech Hubs in FY 2025

SSTI and more than 160 state and local governments, institutions of higher education, businesses, trade associations, and nonprofit organizations sent a letter to Congress asking for Tech Hubs appropriations in the FY 2025 budget. As the letter points out, “America’s economic and security needs depend on the country’s ability to remain at the forefront of technological frontiers,” and the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act envisioned a scale for this effort that would see approximately $6 billion in funding through FY 2025—well above the $541 million that Congress has provided to date. Read the full letter, add your organization’s support, and share with your regional stakeholders. 

Dept of Commerce announces CHIPS funds for TSMC and Samsung

The U.S. Department of Commerce has recently signed two non-binding preliminary memorandums of terms (PMTs) with semiconductor companies to provide direct funding under the CHIPS and Science Act. One company, the TSMC Arizona Corporation (TSMC Arizona), a subsidiary of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), will receive up to $6.6 billion to support the company’s investment of more than $65 billion in three greenfield fabs in Phoenix, Arizona. The second company, Samsung Electronics (Samsung), will receive up to $6.4 billion for two new logic fabs, an R&D fab, and an advanced packaging facility in Taylor, Texas, as well as an expansion to their existing Austin facility.

NIST MEP seeks new director; applications due May 8

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have posted the position for director, Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program after the recent announcement that the previous director had left to become director of the CDFI Fund. The director “directs and controls the activities of the MEP,” according to the posting. Qualifications required include, “A broad knowledge of and demonstrated experience in manufacturing, manufacturing and industrial extension programs, and/or technology-based economic development.” The posting is open to May 8 with applicants encouraged not to wait until the last day to apply. Historically, MEP has partnered closely with the states and most SSTI members.

EPA announces eight selections for $20 billion in grants under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced its selections for $20 billion in grant awards under two competitions within the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF). The three selections under the $14 billion National Clean Investment Fund and five selections under the $6 billion Clean Communities Investment Accelerator will, according to an announcement from the EPA, “create a national clean financing network for clean energy and climate solutions across sectors…. By financing tens of thousands of projects, this national clean financing network will mobilize private capital to reduce climate and air pollution….”

Deadline approaching for new federal regulations that a hostile Congress could quickly overturn

Sometime in late May, the U.S. will pass a deadline that could have major repercussions for new administration rules, depending on the outcome of the 2024 federal elections. In effect, rules finalized before late May would be overturned only by going through a new, full rulemaking process, which can be a lengthy process. Rules passed after that date, however, could be overturned relatively quickly by Congress if control of the branches changes.

CHIPS program suspends plans for R&D facilities program; other R&D programs unaffected

The Commerce Department has suspended plans to announce a funding opportunity for the construction, modernization, or expansion of commercial semiconductor R&D facilities, according to an announcement the CHIPS Program Office made in their newsletter last week. The suspension does not impact the $11 billion the CHIPS Program Office still plans to spend on semiconductor R&D through separate R&D programs, nor does it affect the awards for incentive program funding opportunities already announced.

“SSBCI 2.0: An overview of state uses of funds” article has been updated

SSTI has updated data across four states, and added data for an additional two and Puerto Rico, in last week’s “SSBCI 2.0: An overview of state uses of funds” article. Select programs in Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota and Oregon were reclassified by SSTI, and may differ from Treasury's “Capital Program Summaries”– which the original article was based on. A total of nine venture capital programs across these states were broadly classified as credit support programs by Treasury but reclassified as equity/venture capital programs by SSTI soon after the article was posted on March 28, 2024. Missouri, Vermont, and Puerto Rico were added by SSTI with information based on their respective press release documents. The analysis has been updated to reflect these changes, and will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

Useful Stats: Most sectors on a downward trend in high-growth firms

Shrinking shares of job-creating, high-growth firms across the country, the topic of SSTI’s Useful Stats column in last week’s Digest, is not being experienced within all sectors of the economy, according to analysis of the Business Dynamics Statistics of High Growth Firms (BDS-HG) experimental dataset from the Census Bureau. From 1978-2021, the number of high-growth firms, measured by change in employment, has increased in five sectors, stayed the same in one, and decreased in the remaining 13 classifications of U.S. business and industrial activity. Slower-growth firms expanded their dominance of the economy, as all sectors experienced a decrease in the number of high-growth firms as a percentage of their total respective firms.

Global Evidence on the Decline and Recovery of Rust Belt Cities

This article, written by Leonardo Vasquez and reproduced from the April 2024 issue of NBER Digest, is a summary of NBER Working Paper 31948, prepared by Luisa Gagliardi, Enrico Moretti, and Michael Seranfelli.

FTC Chair advocates for promoting competition to drive innovation

In the 1970s, the U.S. government took antitrust actions against IBM and AT&T, causing considerable controversy. Walter Wriston, the then-president of Citibank and a key leader on Wall Street, questioned the value of doing this, apparently (according to Lina M. Khan, Federal Trade Commission Chair), likening the move to breaking up the Yankees, because they were so successful. In a presentation she delivered at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on March 13, Lina M. Khan, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, disagreed with Wriston’s perspective. In her comments, Khan contended that breaking up monopolies is essential for promoting innovation, that by breaking up companies like AT&T and IBM, the U.S. opened a path to “waves of innovation, including the personal computer, the telecommunications revolution, and the logic chip.”

TBED Community of Practice looks at methods to measure the success of state lab-to-market initiatives

Two senior leaders of state programs designed to help commercialize new intellectual property joined a TBED CoP webinar last week to discuss how they determine whether those initiatives are successful. John Hardin, executive director of the Office of Science, Technology & Innovation at the NC Department of Commerce, described the One NC Small Business Program and the evaluation process the office performs each year. They use surveys of award recipients and econometric analysis to demonstrate the program’s effectiveness. Vinit Nijhawan, managing director, MassVentures, discussed the START program targeted at deep tech companies and Catalyst grants, which support clean tech startup companies. Both programs have been shown to assist companies with commercialization activities. More than 100 attendees participated in the webinar, which generated many practical questions (and thoughtful answers) about how methods used in North Carolina and Massachusetts may be transferable to other states. The presentation and recording are available here.