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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.


Need for new workforce models increases as economy rebuilds

The May jobs report that was released last Friday contained better news than the disappointing numbers from April, with May figures showing 559,000 jobs added and unemployment declining by 0.3 percentage point to 5.8 percent. But the jobs picture remains complicated.

Report: Better outcomes for students at Tribal Colleges and Universities with entrepreneurship courses

A new report from the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) highlights the impact of business and entrepreneurship courses at Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), which have long served as bastions of cultural identity at many American Indian and Alaskan Native reservations and important economic drivers in these prominently rural areas.

Useful Stats: Performers of federally-funded R&D by state, 2019

Federally funded R&D is a pillar of the U.S. innovation economy, and understanding how that funding is disbursed among the various performers within a state can help regional innovation leaders in developing, designing and implementing investment strategies, programs, and policies.

6 things you need to know about President Biden’s budget

The White House released President Joe Biden’s full budget proposal last week. As previewed in the “skinny” budget, the administration is supporting substantial increases for R&D, workforce and broadband. Support for federal programs that support entrepreneurship and the transformation of research, however, are more mixed.

Recent Research: Region’s personality makeup helps shape entrepreneurial behaviors

Building on top of the notion that diversity of industry is central to a region’s entrepreneurial success, recent research has noted that the personalities of people living throughout a region also play an important role in local knowledge spillover and the economic diversity of the area. The report, Entrepreneurship in Cities by Sam Tavassoli, Martin Obschonka, and David B.

Senate confirms Lander as director of OSTP, position elevated to Cabinet level

Eric Lander was confirmed by the Senate as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). He will serve as the president’s science adviser and, for the first time, the position will also hold a seat in the Cabinet.

TBED efforts to combat the pandemic creating a better future

As vaccination rates increase across the country and infections fall, the role of science in combatting the COVID-19 virus is front and center. Last week, we brought you stories about SSTI members’ efforts to help small businesses. In today’s story, we share additional feedback from our members that worked to find ways to fight the virus and others who pivoted to help their students continue to learn in a challenging environment.

SBA launches more than $100M in new funding programs to support equitable and inclusive entrepreneurship

This week the Small Business Administration (SBA) released several funding opportunities to support and promote equitable and inclusive economic recovery for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The new Community Navigator Pilot Program will award $100 million to support regional “hub and spoke” networks in providing technical assistance, training, direct financial assistance, and other services to underserved small businesses.

Pandemic compounds manufacturing workforce shortage, robots not filling the void

Manufacturers in the U.S. have been facing workforce shortages despite nearly six years of recent job gains in the sector. Those gains and more have been wiped out by the Covid-19 pandemic, compounding the labor shortage problem for a sector that has often struggled to keep pace with the changing demands of technology. However, this exacerbated labor shortage shows that robots are not taking all the jobs, only increasing the level of tech skills workers need to do their jobs.

Useful Stats: Federal R&D obligations by state and agency, 2019

The level of federal R&D funding within a state can have important implications for local innovation economies. As such, understanding the amount of federal R&D funding and which agencies provide that funding within a state can help regional innovation leaders in designing and implementing programs and policies. This edition of Useful Stats explores NSF’s recently updated data on federal R&D funding obligations in 2019 by state and agency.

Alabama governor signs measures to boost state’s innovation economy with $9M in appropriations

Alabama is the latest state that is embracing innovation as a way to grow the state’s economy. On May 19, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation that grew from two top priority measures of the Alabama Innovation Commission — proposals discussed between SSTI and commission members in a meeting earlier this year.

Useful Stats: SBIR application success rates decreased from FY 2019 to FY 2020 at National Institutes of Health

An SSTI data analysis finds that in FY 2020, small businesses were less successful in obtaining Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — particularly from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — than they were in FY 2019. NIH provides more funding to the SBIR/STTR program in total than the other participating civilian agency combined, and is also the top funder of the program within most states among the civilian agencies. As such — and with the approaching June 4 deadline for applications to the Federal And State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program — organizations dedicated to supporting technology startups and bolstering local innovation economies should consider how to better assist companies prepare and submit quality SBIR/STTR applications to NIH while designing outreach, education, technical assistance, mentorship, and other entrepreneurial support programs.

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