• SSTI's 2019 Annual Conference - September 9th-11th in Providence, RI

    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.


Benchmark report reveals threats to US science, tech leadership

While the U.S. continues to lead the world in science, technology and innovation, other nations are on track to catch and surpass the lead the country currently holds, according to a new report from the Task Force on American Innovation (TFIA). In Second Place America? Increasing Challenges to U.S. Scientific Leadership, TFIA, a non-partisan alliance of leading American companies and business associations, research university associations, and scientific societies, benchmarks the U.S.

Science & Innovation policy research hub seeking content; EDQ call for papers on rural economic development

The Fung Institute at the University of California Berkeley, with funding support from the National Science Foundation, has established a website to serve as a centralized hub for finding research papers, analyses, and case studies on science and innovation policy. Papers to be included may develop models, analytical tools, data, and metrics to enable science and innovation policymakers and TBED practitioners to improve the impacts derived from public investments and policy interventions. 

Fed research explores employment opportunities for workers without college degrees

More than one-in-five jobs across America’s metropolitan areas are defined as opportunity occupations, those that pay above the national annual median wage and are accessible to workers without a bachelor’s degree, according to new research from authors at the Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia and Cleveland. In Opportunity Occupations Revisited: Exploring Employment for Sub-baccalaureate Workers Across Metro Areas and Over Time, authors Kyle Fee and Lisa Nelson from the Cleveland Fed and Keith Wardrip from the Philadelphia Fed reexamine findings from a 2015 study. This update offers an in-depth analysis of the largest metropolitan areas across the country, finding that a region’s occupational mix and cost of living play a significant role in determining their share of opportunity employment.

Washington’s expansive college tuition program intended to build state's workforce

The Washington legislature passed a higher education bill that is awaiting the governor’s signature that would provide more aid for state residents attending higher education institutions in the state. The bill could raise nearly $1 billion over four years through an increase in the state’s business and occupation tax.

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).

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