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.


8 things to know from the FY 2020 budget

Congress is expected to pass the FY 2020 budget this week, and as anticipated, the bills include billions in new appropriations. Innovation policy priorities, such as Regional Innovation Strategies, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and NSF, did well in the final budget. Here are the top things to know about innovation initiatives in the final budget.

1. Regional Innovation Strategies receives $33 million

Defense bill extends Regional Innovation Strategies, Manufacturing USA

This year’s national defense authorization act (NDAA) includes extensions of the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program and Manufacturing USA. The House and Senate have passed the FY 2020 legislation, which authorizes up to $738 billion in appropriations and sets policy for a wide range of defense-related activities. The NDAA is one of the few bills that passes Congress each year.

States try to boost workforce through variety of programs

Advancing programs to increase students’ tech skills, raising awareness of the skilled trades, attracting out of state workers by paying moving expenses, and creating a Governor’s Workforce Council, were just a few of the new programs across the states dealing with current and looming shortages in the workforce. This week SSTI takes a look at some of the different workforce development initiatives that surfaced in 2019 as part of our ongoing coverage of innovation programs that were implemented this past year.

Recent research: Angel tax credits not showing economic impact

In a new working paper, Sabrina T. Howell of New York University and Filippo Mezzanotti of Northwestern University provide a systematic review of state angel tax credits. One of the most notable aspects of their research is a seemingly-comprehensive index of all of the relevant programs authorized by states over the past 30 years. The results indicate that angel tax credits have some impact on investment activity but not on economic outcomes.

Proposal would create 10 new innovation hubs across US

Brookings and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) are proposing a new concentration of federal investment into 10 metros with a goal of creating new innovation hubs. The Case for Growth Centers is likely an early entry of what will be many suggestions between now and next November for “massive federal” policies, but may be one of the most directly relevant to regional innovation economies.

Useful Stats: Higher Education R&D Performance by Metro, 2009-2018

This week’s edition of Useful Stats covers Higher Education Research & Development (HERD) expenditures at the metropolitan level, pulling from the recent NSF updates to its HERD performance data. High levels of college and university R&D activity is not surprisingly clustered heavily in the East Coast — ranging from the District of Columbia up to Boston — and on the West Coast in California. The 10-year average HERD expenditures were the greatest in the New York-Northern New Jersey metro area ($3.7 billion), Boston ($2.8 billion), Baltimore ($2.8 billion), Los Angeles ($2.6 billion), and Houston ($2.0 billion). These five metro areas account for nearly 21 percent of the nation’s total 10-year average R&D spending by universities and colleges. Of the 209 metro areas included in this analysis — and excluding nonmetropolitan areas — the top 15 metros account for approximately 45 percent of the 10-year average of total HERD expenditures.

Total number of students declines, but minority numbers on the rise

The number of students enrolled in all levels of school in 2018 was 76.8 million, a drop of 2.8 percent from the 79 million enrolled in 2011, according to a new study by the U.S. Census Bureau. The biggest decrease in enrollment was at two- and four-year colleges. Enrollment in two-year colleges was down from 5.7 million to 4.3 million, a 25-percent drop, while enrollment in four-year colleges was down from 20.4 million to 18.9 million, a 7.6 percent dip over the 2011-2018 period.  The number of graduate-school students is up to 4.3 million, a 300,000 jump from the 2011 total. The number of minority students has increased as well.

Regional actions to support entrepreneurs, capital access in 2019

Entrepreneurial support and capital access remain key concerns for regional innovation economies, as evidenced by the abundance of new activity in 2019. From accelerators, many of which are sector-specific, to seed funds, we highlight 26 of the most interesting developments from the past year. This is the latest in our series of articles highlighting innovation system activities in states across the country in 2019.

Passages of two dedicated public servants

SSTI notes the recent passing of two officials who helped shaped the impact science and technology had on the American economy. Dr. Mary Good served as Under Secretary of Technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Clinton Administration led the Administration’s Clean Car Initiative and oversaw NIST at the time the Manufacturing Extension Partnership began its expansion to national presence. Mary was as passionate as she was smart. You can read more about her life here.

Career-relevant coursework valued more by consumers of higher education than resulting wages

Sensing a gap in conversation about the importance of higher education, Strada Education Network and Gallup partnered to conduct a study on how Americans value their educations. The resulting report focuses on the relationship between two primary questions; whether consumers feel their educations were worth the cost and if they felt their educations made them attractive job candidates.

China surpasses US as global leader in experimental development, US maintains dominance in total R&D expenditures

The U.S. continues to be the global leader in total R&D expenditures, spending $483 billion (adjusted to 2010 purchasing parity dollars) in 2017 compared to China’s expenditures of $443 billion. However, according to a recent publication from the National Science Foundation, China surpassed the U.S. in expenditures on experimental development in 2014 and has since continued to increase its lead. In 2017, China spent more than $370 billion on experimental development compared to just over $300 billion in the United States.

Useful Stats: Higher education R&D expenditures by state and source of funds

Across the U.S., the federal government provided 53 percent of R&D funding at institutions of higher education in FY 2018. Those institutions provided 26 percent of the funding themselves, and most of the remainder was provided by a mix of nonprofit organizations (7 percent), industry (6 percent), and state and local government (5 percent). The specific contributions varied from state to state, however, with some relying more on specific relationships to support R&D within the state.

Pages