• 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 Engines muster local resources to compete with Silicon Valley and Boston

The recently awarded NSF Engine Type 1 development awards are intended to bring technology-based economic development to vast swaths of the US landscape, including those that Silicon Valley and Boston have long overshadowed. This week we kick off an examination of some of the proposals led by SSTI members that were selected by NSF for funding.

New resource: SSTI releases first video on federal funding sources

Have you ever wondered whether there is a federal program that supports tech-based economic development (TBED) strategies and initiatives--even if it doesn’t explicitly state that science, technology, innovation, or entrepreneurship are priority uses of funds? Actually, a wide variety of federal programs can support these programs. To help organizations identify sources of funding that could be useful, SSTI interviewed representatives from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to understand better how they can use specific funding opportunities to support TBED activities.

Department of Education proposes new rules to impact gainful employment

Each year, more than 703,000 federally aided students enroll in one of the 1,800 career training programs, according to a Department of Education fact sheet. Unfortunately, the typical graduate of these programs leaves with unaffordable debt or earns less than a high school graduate in their state. Sometimes, these programs shut down with little warning, leaving students in the lurch. A recent study from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center showed that, of closures that took place over 16 years, 70 percent of the students received insufficient warning that the closures were coming. The federal government absorbs the cost of many of these students’ loans, which they pass on to taxpayers.

EDA releases $50 million Build to Scale Funding Opportunity

Earlier today, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the 2023 notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) for the Build to Scale program. State and local governments, nonprofits, higher education institutions, National Labs, and others can compete for $50 million to support new and expanded initiatives supporting regional commercialization, entrepreneurship, and capital formation efforts.

Large percentage of Americans report they’re struggling to make ends meet

Almost 40% of American adults report they struggle to make ends meet each month, an increase from 34.4% in 2022 and 26.7% in 2021. At 46.2%, Louisiana had the highest percentage reporting financial struggles followed by Mississippi (45.7%) and Arkansas (45.6%). Additionally, 11.3% of adults in households in the U.S. experienced some or very frequent times when they did not have enough to eat from April 26 through May 17, 2023. That percentage fell below the national average in 24 states, with Louisiana weighing in with more people (15.6%) going hungry than anywhere else. Meanwhile, people in Montana (5.9%) reported the lowest level of struggling with hunger during the same period.

New funding opportunities support the electrification of America's transportation sector

Residents in disadvantaged communities could soon see progress toward equitable availability of clean mobility options due to two recent initiatives from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO). A new funding opportunity from VTO brings $99.5 million in addition to the current selection of 45 projects totaling $87 million. DOE designed both to help to “onshore and re-shoring domestic manufacturing of key technologies and infrastructure that are critical to reaching the nation’s clean transportation future.”

Comments to the USPTO regarding AI and inventorship

More than 50% of the patents granted in 2020 were related to AI, according to a USPTO report. Considering this large volume of AI-related patents, the office recently sought feedback regarding AI inventorship. Key points made by AUTM, BIO, Google, IBM, and Microsoft are summarized here.

JOLTS data metrics: a look at the long-term trends

A new data analysis of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) by SSTI indicates again the significant impact the pandemic had on the manufacturing sector. While job openings in manufacturing ranged on a monthly basis from 0.8 to 3.9% of total manufacturing employment in the 20 years prior to the pandemic, it jumped to as much as 7.4% in April 2022. Job openings in manufacturing increased dramatically after the pandemic, presumably as a result of the American economy attempting to adjust for disrupted supply chains and a move to bring more manufacturing back to the U.S. Only education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services had job opening rates consistently higher.  For the economy as a whole, a review of the JOLTS data finds the number of job openings is still significantly higher than pre-covid levels, but is on a decreasing trend.  

Recent Research: The key role of immigrants in the U.S. innovation ecosystem

As the U.S. seeks to maintain its competitive edge in the global economy, it is important to acknowledge the contributions of immigrant innovators toward U.S. growth and competitiveness. Despite making up only 16% of the population, immigrant inventors are responsible for approximately 36% of the U.S. innovative output since 1990, and have founded some of the most successful companies in the nation. This article draws on a variety of recent reports and studies to provide insights into the many ways immigrant innovators are essential to our robust innovation ecosystem, including their role in U.S.-based startups, contributions to patents, and more.

EDA opens Tech Hubs competition

When Dan Berglund, SSTI’s president and CEO, testified in a hearing before the House on an early draft of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, he noted that funding from the federal government that addresses the whole innovation system rather than individual elements of the system would be critical to building a regional innovation economy and different than any other federal program. With last Friday’s release of the first notice of funding opportunity for the Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs) program that approach is becoming a reality. The program is intended to make investments that will help transform regional clusters in specific and critical technologies into globally competitive economies.

IN Budget surplus leads to OrthoWorx windfall

OrthoWorx, a nonprofit organization established in 2009 to advance Indiana’s orthopedics industry in Kosciusko County, received a $30 million appropriation from Indiana’s new two-year budget. Kosciusko County, home to companies that represent about half of the $60 billion global market for total joint replacements, is considered the orthopedic capital of the world. In 2022, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership estimated the industry accounts for more than 22,000 jobs in the region and approximately $19 billion in revenue.

SSTI among 40 SBA Growth Accelerator awardees

This week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced 40 new Growth Accelerator Fund Competition awardees. SSTI’s proposal to identify programs and partners that have expanded the participation of minority business owners and researchers in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is among the winners.