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SSTI Digest

NSF releases updated tools for profiling US state trends in science and engineering

NSF recently released updates on two ways of profiling trends in science and engineering at the state level: Science and Engineering State Profiles and Science & Engineering Indicators.

Useful Stats: An overview of 2023 VC activity

United States venture capital activity not unexpectedly slowed down in 2023, cooling off after multiple years of record-high deals and values during 2021 and 2022, according to the PitchBook-NVCS Venture Monitor Q4 2023. Pitchbook-NVCS estimates a total deal count of 15,766 (13,608 actual + 2,158 estimated) for 2023– exceeding the values of 2020 and prior years but falling several thousand short of the last two years. Between these deals, just $170.6 billion was invested, a drop of $71.6 billion from 2022 and $177.4 billion from 2021.

Development impacts of disasters revealing longer-term effects on regional growth

Since 1980, billion-dollar climate disasters in the United States have increased an astonishing 749%, from averaging 3.3 throughout the 1980s to 28 in 2023 alone. These data from the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information include floods, wildfires, droughts, severe storms, tropical cyclones, and winter storms. The finding is consistent with the Fifth National Climate Assessment, released last year, that concluded the rise is due to a combination of increased exposure (i.e., more assets at risk), vulnerability (i.e., how much damage a hazard of given intensity—wind speed, or flood depth, for example—causes at a location), and the fact that climate change is increasing the frequency of some types of extremes that lead to billion-dollar disasters. Because climate change will only get worse given its current trajectory, it is reasonable to expect the number and severity of disaster events will continue to grow. Research shows TBED, systems-based planning, and conventional economic development have roles to play in mitigating future risk.

Maryland’s first State of the Economy report finds almost a decade of stalled economic and population growth

Last week (Jan. 3), Maryland’s state comptroller released the state’s first State of the Economy report. The 110-page document uses publicly available data, academic research, and government studies to analyze relevant economic indicators within the state. It compares that data across neighboring states and nationally to better understand the current economic climate and to help Maryland policymakers understand the sources of weakness, as well as identify the strengths and opportunities available, and to leverage those resources for more sustained, long-term economic growth.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2024: Innovation agendas from the governors’ State of the State addresses

With the start of the new year, governors have begun to deliver their State of the State addresses, laying out proposals for new programs and discussing the conditions of their states. As states’ revenue levels return to more typical levels, lawmakers, with a few exceptions, are taking a more cautious, or constrained, view of their funding priorities and proposed initiatives. Many governors also appear to be more restrained in their addresses this year, speaking more to the previous year’s successes, suggesting lawmakers tighten their state’s fiscal belts while providing targeted investments into key or signature programs, as well as previously proposed initiatives, rather than rolling out new programs, except in the innovation space related to semiconductors and recently announced tech hubs.  

SBA Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Opens January 8

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the 2024 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) on January 8. The competition offers $50,000 to $200,000 in prize awards “for impactful and inclusive approaches to foster a thriving, collaborative national innovation support ecosystem to advance research and development (R&D) from ideas to impact.” The competition is not intended to provide capital directly to companies for R&D projects. The prizes will be awarded in two stages.

Useful Stats: Microbusinesses executed $6.1 billion of domestic R&D in 2021

In 2021, U.S. microbusinesses reported $8.1 billion in research and development (R&D) expenditures, of which the microbusinesses themselves performed 75% ($6.1 billion) The $6.1 billion in microbusiness-performed R&D represents an increase of 9% over the prior year and 17% since 2019. Microbusinesses are those with nine or fewer employees.

22 Recompete Pilot Program finalists named

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently announced the 22 finalists of the Distressed Area Recompete Pilot Program (Recompete) and 24 Strategy Development Grants. Recompete, authorized through the CHIPS and Science Act, targets the hardest-hit and most economically distressed areas of the country, specifically ones where prime-age (25-54 years) employment is significantly lower than the national average. Projects that are ultimately selected for funding connect workers to good jobs in geographically diverse and persistently distressed communities nationwide. The finalists will now submit proposals for $20-50 million. The Strategy Development Grants will be used to help communities significantly increase local coordination and planning activities. Such development could make selected grantees more competitive for future Recompete funding.

Useful Stats: Higher Education R&D by State and Institution

The United States is home to some of the world's most prestigious universities, each performing critical research that helps advance the country’s innovation economy. However, these universities are not evenly distributed across the country; many are concentrated within large cities in states where their spillover further impacts the local economies.

NSF announces Accelerating Research Translation awards

The National Science Foundation recently announced awarding more than $100 million to 18 teams at academic institutions across the nation through the Accelerating Research Translation (ART) program. An NSF press release states, “NSF's investment will enable academic institutions to accelerate the pace and scale of translational research that will grow the nation's economy.”

U.S. House Select Committee releases report on U.S.-China competition

A bipartisan report from the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party says the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has failed to live up to the foundational principles of the World Trade Organization—open, market-oriented, non-discriminatory treatment. In its report, "Reset, Prevent, Build: A Strategy to Win America's Economic Competition with the Chinese Communist Party," the committee calls for resetting the U.S.'s economic relationship with China. They propose to do so, in part, through new research security measures and controls on technology exports.

DOE Launches New Office to Coordinate Critical and Emerging Technology

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the Office of Critical and Emerging Technology launch. A DOE press release explains that the office has been created “to ensure U.S. investments in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology, quantum computing, and semiconductors leverage the department’s wide range of assets and expertise to accelerate progress in these critical sectors.”

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