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New White House science director, reports: American S&T leadership increasingly through industry

In January, the U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier as director of the White House Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and since the end of the partial federal government shutdown, the director and office have produced informative reports and speeches. Two common threads through these sources are emphases on continued American leadership in key tech sectors — and that this leadership will increasingly occur in conjunction with, or under the direction of, private industry.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 8: education, workforce, climate action and rural initiatives focus of innovation efforts

This week we nearly finish our state of the state coverage, save two remaining governors (Louisiana and Minnesota) who have yet to present their addresses. In reviewing the speeches for news on innovation efforts, we find education taking the main stage in Florida and Tennessee, while Alabama and Ohio’s governors are hoping to build the state’s workforce, and North Carolina, still recovering from natural disasters, wants to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and provide tuition assistance for community college.

Useful Stats: Distribution of R&D performance by state

Nearly three-quarters of all research and development was performed by the private sector in fiscal year 2016, though this share differed greatly across the states, according to an SSTI analysis of recently released data from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NSF NCSES).

Fueled by businesses, US R&D performance eclipses half-trillion dollar mark in 2016 and 2017

For the first time, total research and development performed in the United States has surpassed $500 billion, reaching $515.3 billion in 2016, a $22 billion (4.4 percent) increase from the previous year, according to a recent info brief from the National Science Foundation. Furthermore, NSF estimates that larger increases are ahead, with early projections for 2017 showing an additional $26.9 billion increase (5.2 percent).

$25 million commitment builds coalition to increase women in STEM

In an effort to close the gender gap in STEM, a $25 million commitment from the Lyda Hill Foundation will help to build a coalition of science institutions along with names and brands in popular culture to help fund and elevate women in STEM fields. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), one of the coalition members, will select 100 women in STEM professions to serve as ambassadors for the new IF/THEN Initiative, to help build skills and opportunities among middle school girls in science communication, public engagement, media, diversity and inclusion, and STEM education.

Regions, states utilize tech internships to build 21st century workforce

While the U.S. economy hovers near full employment, employers contend that the skills gap still persists and it is impacting their ability grow. To address the long-term issue of the skills gap, several states and regions have turned to S&T internships to help students develop the necessary technical skills to address the needs of industry. The development of an S&T internship program can serve as a potentially highly effective strategy for developing and retaining talent workers while also helping integrate underserved communities into the 21st century workforce. This article highlights several examples from across the country.

Shrinking funding for higher ed misunderstood; impacts reverberate

Decreasing state funding for higher education is having a negative effect on higher education in the New England states, according to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The report comes on the heels of a recent survey from American Public Media (APM) and the Hechinger Report showed that most Americans are unaware that governmental funding for public colleges and universities has actually decreased over the past 10 years. Decreased funding has resulted in higher tuition, more student loan debt, fewer approved patent applications, and implications for the New England economy, the Fed report asserts.

Useful stats: Educational attainment across the states, 2000-2017

From 2000 to 2017, the share of the U.S. population with a bachelor’s degree (or higher) increased from 24 percent to 31 percent. Meanwhile, the share of the population with a high school education (or less) decreased from 48 percent to 40 percent. All states experienced these directional changes in educational attainment. State performance relative to other states was relatively static, particularly for those performing best and worst in 2000, with few changes in the rankings of states by share of the population with a bachelor’s degree.

Acceptance rate of H1-B visas continues decline

The share of H-1B applications approved by United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) in FY 2018 was well below the levels in FY 2017 and FY 2016, and new data from the first quarter of FY 2019 shows a continuing downward trend.

ITIF: Leverage cleantech to accelerate economic growth

There are numerous opportunities for policymakers and elected officials at the state and local levels to encourage clean energy, and doing so could spur economic development, according to a new report by David Hart, a senior fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and a professor of public policy at George Mason University.  As state and local leaders pursue these strategies, Hart focuses on five non-exclusive tracks to pursue: offering

Kauffman Foundation updates indicators, State of Entrepreneurship Address

Too many communities continue to focus on business attraction in lieu of entrepreneurial support, according to the Kauffman Foundation leadership in their 10th annual State of Entrepreneurship Address. To increase the focus on entrepreneurs, the foundation indicated it plans to help 200 communities across the country, and 200,000 entrepreneurs in these communities over the next five years, with an emphasis on the middle of country and underrepresented populations, but it did not provide specific details on how it would provide that assistance. As part of the effort, Kauffman also released a checklist highlighting barriers and breakthroughs in entrepreneurship, as well as ways individuals can help grow more inclusive and innovative local economies. In the week leading up to the address, Kauffman also introduced four indicators at the national, state, and metropolitan levels as part of its new approach to tracking early-stage entrepreneurship.

US female workers with doctorates in science, engineering, and health fields increasing

The number of U.S.-trained female science, engineering, or health (SEH) doctorate holders residing and working in the U.S. has more than doubled, going  from 119,350 in 1997 to 287,250 in 2017, according to a new report from the National Science Foundation (NSF). In 1997, less than one-fourth (23 percent) of the U.S.-trained SEH doctorate holders working in the U.S. were women. Twenty years later, that number had increased to 35 percent.

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