• SSTI poll shows overwhelming support for innovation platform

    More than 90 percent of the electorate support expanded efforts to strengthen the key elements of a knowledge-driven economy. Members can sign up for a webinar on how the poll can inform your communications.

  • 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

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.


APLU launches rural workforce initiative

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is building a program to create new career pathways for low-income rural students. Through a partnership with the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development at Purdue University, the program will address the needs of rural employers by creating a model to identify rural workforce needs, developing stakeholder partnerships, mapping workforce pathways, recruiting and supporting low-income rural learners, and building entrepreneurship and leadership skills.

Innovation & supply chain leading areas of concern for weakened defense industrial base

Already weakened before the pandemic, a new report from the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) finds that the health and readiness of the U.S. defense industrial base — composed of manufacturers, technology innovators, and systems integrators, research organizations, and suppliers — faces particularly large obstacles in the areas of innovation and supply chain. Assessed along eight different metrics, NDIA assigns an overall letter grade indicating the health and readiness of the defense industrial base.

Members named to entrepreneurship and innovation committees in the 117th Congress

Editor’s notes. Feb. 18: We have updated the article to reflect assignments to key subcommittees in both the House and Senate. 

Nearly a month into the 117th Congress, formal committee assignments are being announced. The highest-priority committees for tech-based economic development policies are those affecting science and small business issues. The lists, below, provide a description of those committees in the Senate and House for the next two years.

Senate Commerce Committee

Report: Heartland stands to benefit most from reshoring

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the country’s reliance on overseas manufacturing production when there was a lack of medical supplies and equipment to treat those affected by the virus as supply chains were reliant on supplies from outside the country. A recent report from Heartland Forward finds that many domestic and foreign companies are recognizing the strategic advantages of locating in the U.S. and are considering reshoring operations.

U.S. House passes apprenticeship bill

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives again passed the National Apprenticeships Act, which is intended to increase the diversity of occupations and people covered by approved apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships receive substantial attention for their track record of strong economic impacts when measured at the state level, and the bill also hopes to improve the ability to track impacts across the country.

Congress reveals COVID bill with $10 billion SSBCI

The U.S. House of Representatives is working through the coronavirus relief package in committee markups this week, and there are several provisions that could have a significant impact for regional innovation economies. The highest-profile of these is $10 billion for a new State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program. Reauthorizing this program has been a top priority for SSTI's Innovation Advocacy Council, as SSBCI was one of the federal government’s only sources of funding for equity investments in the past two decades.

MEP Centers continue to deliver consistent ROI to nation

Despite facing enormous challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers and Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers continued to deliver a “consistent and significant return on investment to the nation,” in FY 2020, according to a new analysis from the W.E. Upjohn Institute. MEP Centers deliver technical assistance to primarily small- and medium-sized manufacturing establishments to help them improve their productivity and competitiveness.

$40 million commitment expands entrepreneurship programs at minority-serving institutions

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has announced a $40 million commitment to expand the Blackstone LaunchPad program to support underrepresented students and communities. Going forward, LaunchPad will focus on colleges and universities that have a majority diverse population or are serving under-resourced communities, increasing the program from 30 to 75 campuses over the next five years. The LaunchPad program mentors college student-founders from idea to growth stage and provides other mentoring to students interested in entrepreneurship.

Useful Stats: Higher Education R&D expenditures by state and field, 2019

Given higher education’s role in generating the knowledge that catalyzes innovative new technologies developed by high-growth startups, R&D conducted at institutions of higher education is one of the most important metrics for evaluating an area’s innovation economy. This edition of Useful Stats examines NSF’s recently updated Higher Education R&D (HERD) survey, finding that most states, although not all, experienced growth in HERD expenditures from 2018 to 2019. This analysis also examines 2019 state HERD expenditures by R&D field, finding that life sciences accounted for the lion’s share of HERD spending in every state except Alaska, typically followed by either engineering; the physical sciences; or the geological, atmospheric, and ocean sciences.

Broadband, clean energy, workforce and diversifying economies featured in governors State-of-the-State addresses

More than half of the nation’s governors have given their State-of-the-State addresses, and in this week’s coverage of the addresses, we complete our review of those that addressed their constituencies through January. As the COVID-19 crisis highlighted the need for greater broadband connectivity and affordability, we again see the state leaders focusing more attention on building out those capabilities. Diversifying state economies also plays a role in Alaska, Hawaii and New Mexico, while opportunities for development through renewables features in addresses from Nevada and New York.

Women gaining in STEM employment; still underrepresented overall

New one-year estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) show that in 2019, women made up 48 percent of all workers but only 27 percent of STEM employees. This figure has risen over the last 50 years where, in 1970, women accounted for just 8 percent of STEM employees while representing 38 percent of all workers.

SSTI examines state R&D investment as a share of state GDP, 2009-2018

Industry investment in research and development (R&D) indicates, literally, how invested each state’s businesses are in creating new products and processes. To better-understand industry’s commitment to innovation, business R&D can be viewed as a percentage of each state’s private sector gross domestic product (GDP), providing a measure of research intensity. This measure highlights substantial differences in the orientation of states’ businesses toward research, with some states seeing an investment rate of less than 1 percent while others are above 5 percent.

Pages