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    SSTI and conference host Rhode Island Commerce Corporation invite you to join your peers for conversations around emerging challenges and opportunities related to science, tech, innovation & entrepreneurship.

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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.


Analysis finds software accounts for nearly one-third of business R&D, up 60 percent over 10-years

Software plays an increasingly large role in private sector research and development (R&D) expenditures, according to new research from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Based on a recent change in how the BEA treats software R&D in its calculations for gross domestic product (GDP) and other metrics, the analysis finds that the share of business R&D coming from software increased from 20 percent in 2006 to 32 percent in 2016, a 60 percent increase. The authors also look at longer-term trends in business R&D expenditures on software, as well as an analysis of software R&D in manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries.

NY unveils $175 million workforce development initiative

Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a new effort to streamline the state’s workforce development programs. The $175 million Workforce Development Initiative will consolidate the state’s fragmented workforce development funding opportunities. Using the state’s 10 regional economic development councils (REDC’s) to suggest and prioritize projects, the initiative will offer awards in three competitive categories: public-private partnerships that expand infrastructure and capacity for state universities to meet employer needs; programs to expand employer investment in workforce pipelines; and, workforce solutions that provide flexible funding for innovative workforce development projects such as those targeting advanced industries or underrepresented populations.

New initiative to study ROI of smart cities

ESI ThoughtLab, a branch of economic consulting firm Econsult Solutions, has announced a new effort to study the return on investment of smart city programs across the world. Sponsored by groups like Accenture, General Motors, CBRE, and Oracle, the group is focusing on how the cities of the future can use sensors, data, and analysis to help fully realize the beenfits of working and living in a city. The new effort will be a follow-up to research released late last year by the group on building sustainable business and financing plans for smart cities. In Smarter Cities 2025ESI ThoughtLab surveyed government leaders in 136 global cities, as well as 750 businesses and 2,000 citizens in 11 cities deemed representative of smart cities at large. They find that smart city investments have the potential to catalyze economic growth, although social and political challenges remain.

RFP for Policy Academy on strengthening your state’s manufacturers

NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership program is seeking participants for its second Policy Academy cohort designed to leverage manufacturing growth in your state. Funded by NIST MEP and organized by SSTI and the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC), the Policy Academy will provide participants with an opportunity to collaborate with other states to identify best practices, partnerships, and policies that will strengthen their manufacturers.

Three channels for Opportunity Zones input now open

As covered recently in the SSTI Weekly Digest, the IRS has released its second round of guidance related to Opportunity Zones. At the same time, the agency announced its intention to release a request for information (RFI) around program reporting. Days earlier, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released an RFI for ways to adjust programs to better-support the zones.

Policies supporting shared prosperity may help address automation’s negative impacts

Although emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced robotics have the potential to drastically change the nature of work, recent research from the Aspen Institute suggests that policies for shared prosperity can help address the challenges and opportunities related to automation.

Useful Stats: Employment in high-tech and manufacturing by state, 2013-2017

Many regional economic development strategies emphasize employment in manufacturing or high-tech, as these industries tend to provide well-paying jobs. Through an analysis of American Community Survey five-year data for 2013-2017, SSTI assessed state-level employment concentration within these sectors.

Manufacturers' outlook strong; demand for skilled workers grows

In the first quarter Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey for 2019, manufacturers continue to report a positive outlook for their own company and marked nine consecutive quarters of record optimism. However, their top concern remains the inability to attract and retain a quality workforce (71.3 percent cited the inability to attract skilled workers as their top challenge).

$42.4 million philanthropic grant to help fuel regional innovation in Northern Indiana

As a way to help encourage innovation and workforce development in Northern Indiana, a five-year, $42.4 million grant from the Lilly Endowment will support the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network. An effort of the University of Notre Dame and the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, the LIFT Network will launch iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame’s Innovation Park, a burgeoning innovation district on the campus’ southern end. This is the sixth region in Indiana where the Lilly Endowment has made an economic development commitment.

NIST releases tech transfer recommendations

Describing the 125+ page document outlining the administration’s thoughts regarding the movement of federal R&D into market use as a “discussion guide, not a policy document,”  Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter Copan announced the report’s release April 24 during the early minutes of the national convening of one of the communities most directly affected by any changes likely to result from the document: the technology licensing practitioners and offices which make up the Federal Laboratories Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC). 

Outgoing USAF secretary proposes new S&T strategy

Last week, U.S. Air Force secretary Heather Wilson released a new Science and Technology Strategy outlining three broad areas for realignment within the branch. The secretary’s emphasis on transformational partnerships should be particularly noteworthy for non-defense organization working with new technologies or STEM workforce. The strategy outlines three objectives: improving delivery of transformational capabilities, reforming S&T management, and likely to be of most interest to the tech-based economic development community, expanding the S&T enterprise with a particular focus on workforce and facilitating innovation partnerships.

Passages

We’re sad to report that in the last month, three individuals who helped shape the field of tech-based economic development have passed away. Bruce “Tab” Wilkins was most recently the President and Center Director of Impact Washington. In addition to five years with the Washington Technology Center, the majority of his career was spent with the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) network, going back to 1994 when he helped form and then lead CONNSTEP. His calm, gracious presence is missed by all those including the SSTI team who had the good fortune to work with him.

Among David Hamburg’s many accomplishments was serving as the President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York from 1982 to 1997. During his tenure the Carnegie Commission on Science and Technology operated and SSTI received a grant critical to the launch of its operations. A full profile of Dr. Hamburg can be found here

In the late 1980s, Ed Cohen served as founding executive director of the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, an agency spun out of the higher education department during the first term of Gov. Thomas Kean, with support from the state’s key business leaders.  Under Ed’s leadership, the Commission became one of the premier state tech-based economic development organizations that kicked off the wave of state involvement in encouraging economic growth through science and technology. A complete obituary can be found here and is listed below.

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